Sinusitis symptoms and treatment

Sinusitis happens when the tissue that lines your sinuses becomes inflamed for swells up.

Healthy sinuses are typically full of air, but if you have sinusitis they can become filled with fluid. When fluid builds, that’s when germs can form and cause an infection.

What causes sinusitis?

The following conditions or circumstances can contribute to your sinuses being blocked:

  • The common cold
  • Rhinitis from allergies, i.e. when the lining of your nose swells up
  • Nasal polyps – small growths on the inside of your nose
  • A deviated septum – when you nasal cavity shifts shape

What types of sinusitis are there?

There are four types of sinusitis:

  • Acute sinusitis – cold-like symptoms like runny, stuffy nose and pain in your face. It can last two to four weeks.
  • Subacute sinus inflammation – can last anywhere from four to 12 weeks.
  • Chronic inflammation – Your cold-like symptoms can last 12 weeks or longer.  
  • Recurrent sinusitis – happens several times a year, not just during allergy season.

Who gets sinusitis?

More people than you think suffer from sinusitis. In fact, researchers estimate that 35 millions people in the United States get sinusitis at least once a year. You’re more likely to contract sinusitis if you have the following:

  • Swelling in your nose because of a cold
  • Your drainage ducts are obstructed.
  • Polyps in your nose
  • Trouble with your immune system

In children, sinusitis comes from the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Sickness that’s contracted from other kids
  • Pacifiers
  • Drinking a baby bottle while lying on the back
  • Smoke

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

If you’re suffering from sinusitis, you likely have the following symptoms:  

  • Stopped up or runny nose
  • No sense of smell
  • Cough or congestion
  • Pain or pressure in your face
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Feeling tired
  • Oral pain

If you have a green or yellow discharge in your nose or your cough, you might have acute sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?

If you suffer any of these symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, you might have chronic sinusitis:

  • Congestion in your face
  • Pus or discharge from your nose
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Pain in your teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath

What are the treatments for sinusitis?

Treating sinusitis is a little tricky sometimes, because an antibiotic won’t work if the sinusitis is caused by a viral infection. If a doctor runs a test and finds you have a bacterial infection, he or she will likely recommend an antibiotic that will help you recover fully.

 

If you don’t have an infection, the symptoms should clear up on their own within two-four weeks.

 

If you’re showing symptoms of acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, stop by an Urgent Care clinic or call your doctor today.

Lactose intolerance: symptoms and treatments

Lactose intolerance means that your body cannot properly digest lactose, a natural sugar that’s found in milk and other dairy products.

Did you know that lactose intolerance affects about 75 percent of the entire world population?

When lactose travels through your colon and it’s not completely digested, it can prompt painful symptoms. Levels of lactose intolerance vary. Some people can have small amounts of milk and dairy, while others cannot consume any milk or dairy at all.

What are lactose intolerance symptoms?

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can vary from mild to serious, depending on how much lactase your body makes.

Lactase is the enzyme your body uses to properly process lactose.  

Symptoms of lactose intolerance typically start about a half hour to two hours after consuming milk or dairy products. Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Pain or cramps
  • Gurgling or other strange sounds in your belly
  • Gas
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Lactose intolerance is more common in adults than it is in children. Native Americans, Asians, Africans and South Americans are more likely to suffer from it.  

One of the biggest problems for lactose-intolerant people is avoiding dairy foods while still finding ways to get enough calcium and maintain healthy bones.

What causes lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is hereditary and runs in families. People usually don’t develop symptoms until teenage or adult years. When that happens, most people are able to eat some level of milk or dairy without significant issues.

In some cases, your body stops producing lactase following an illness, like the flu, or as part of a long-term disease, like cystic fibrosis. When that happens, the effects can be either temporary or permanent.

How do you treat lactose intolerance?

Unfortunately, lactose intolerance has no cure. The best and easiest way to avoid the discomfort associated with lactose intolerance is to avoid milk and dairy products.

There are lactose-free, milk-like products available on store shelves, or you can opt for soy or almond milk as a substitute. You can also eat soy cheese and other soy products.  

There are also dietary supplements available that will help you digest lactose if your body can’t do it on its own. People who live with lactose intolerance have found ways to work around it.

If you have lactose intolerance and are concerned about getting enough calcium, there are several foods you can incorporate into your regular diet.

Nondairy foods that are high in calcium include:

  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • turnip greens
  • Canned sardines
  • Tuna
  • salmon
  • Calcium-fortified juices and cereals
  • Calcium-fortified soy products, like as soy milk, tofu, and soybeans
  • Almonds

 

If you are exhibiting any symptoms of lactose intolerance and don’t know how to manage it, call your physician or stop by an Urgent Care Clinic today.

 

Types of Thyroid Problems

You’ve heard of the thyroid before, but how many people actually know what the thyroid does for your body, and how important it is to so many of your body’s activities?

The thyroid is a gland found at the base of your neck, right under your Adam’s apple. It’s one of the key parts of the endocrine system, which carries out and coordinates a lot of your body’s functions. Most importantly, the thyroid produces hormones that keep your body’s metabolism in check. Metabolism is the way your body creates and uses energy.

If your thyroid makes too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone (hypothyroidism), it can cause several disorders, including:

  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Thyroid nodules

What is Hashimoto’

s Disease?

Hashimoto’s disease, aka chronic lymphatic thyroiditis, is the No. 1 reason that people are diagnosed with hypothyroidism in America. It can happen at any age in life, but it most often affects middle-aged women.

When you have Hashimoto’s disease, your body’s immune system mistakes your thyroid as an invader, attacking and eventually destroying your thyroid and the hormones it produces.

The symptoms are vague, which means that they are the same symptoms as many other diseases and disorders. The symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • depression
  • constipation
  • mild weight gain
  • dry skin
  • dry, thinning hair
  • pale, puffy face
  • heavy and irregular menstrual cycles
  • Cold intolerance
  • enlarged thyroid (goiter)

What is Graves’ Disease?

Graves’ disease is the No. 1 reason for hyperthyroidism (too much hormone). It gets its name from the doctor who first diagnosed it.

Like Hashimoto’s disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid gland, but in this case the gland overproduces instead of underproduces.

Women between 20 and 30 years old are more likely to be diagnosed with Grave’s disease, but it is inherited and can be found in men and women of any age.  

Stress, pregnancy, and smoking are also known to increase your chances of Graves’ disease. Other risk factors include stress, pregnancy, and smoking.

Symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • Shaking hands
  • irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating profusely
  • trouble sleeping
  • diarrhea or frequent bowel movements
  • Irregular or changing menstrual cycle
  • enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • bulging eyes and problems with your vision  

What are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules are another type of thyroid disorder that happens when growths form on the thyroid gland or inside of it. The nodules are either filled with fluid or solid.

The majority of nodules are benign (harmless), though some can have cancerous cells. Like the other thyroid disorders discussed above, thyroid nodules are more frequent in women, and you’re more likely to develop them as you age.

Most nodules are tiny and don’t have symptoms associated with them. When they grow bigger, however, they cause your neck to swell and make it harder to breathe and swallow.

In some cases, the nodules will manufacture the same hormone as your thyroid, which will lead to high levels of the hormone in your bloodstream.

Symptoms of that include:

  • high pulse rate
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • increased appetite
  • tremors
  • weight loss
  • clammy hands

If you think you might have a thyroid problem, contact your physician or stop by an Urgent Care clinic today.

 

Causes and treatments of rosacea

Rosacea is a skin disorder that causes redness on your cheeks, forehead, nose and cheeks. It impacts people 30 years old or older.

Aside from redness and sometimes little bumps and pimples on your face, rosacea is also known for causing burning and soreness in your eyes.

Rosacea can not only be painful and unsightly, but some people who suffer from the disorder have said that it affects their self-confidence and makes social situations awkward. It’s important to talk to your doctor about treatment options to help you look and feel better.

What causes rosacea?

It’s still not exactly clear what causes rosacea, though researchers do know that it’s caused by something irritating the skin. Researchers do not believe it is caused by bacteria.

Rosacea is often found in people with fair skin or those who blush easier than others. It also runs in families.  

Doctors can easily diagnose rosacea in a patient by the pattern of redness on your face. The diagnoses are usually given without medical tests, though in some cases medical tests are needed.

People used to think that rosacea was caused by drinking too much alcohol, but researchers have disproved that myth. If you do suffer from rosacea, however, drinking alcohol could cause your symptoms to flare up.

There are other things that cause rosacea to flare up. They are called “triggers” and they make the blood vessels in your face expand. That’s when the redness comes out.

Other common triggers include:

  • Exercise
  • Too much sun
  • Too much wind
  • Stress
  • Extreme temperatures or extreme switches in temperature (hot to cold or cold to hot)
  • Stress
  • Spicy foods

 

What are the symptoms of rosacea?

People who suffer from rosacea might exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Flushed, red face with dry, red skin that might cause burning or stinging sensations.
  • Pimples, bumps or other acne-like problems on your face
  • Coarser, thicker skin with a bumpy, tough texture
  • Sore, irritated eyes.

 

Sometimes, though rarely, if rosacea goes untreated it can cause permanent damage. Examples include your skin thickening on your face or losing some of your vision.

It’s also known to result in “knobby bumps” on your nose, also known as rhinophyma. Eventually, rhinophyma will make your nose look swollen and waxy, but if treated properly the chances of your rosacea getting that bad aren’t very high.

How do you treat rosacea?

Although there is no cure for rosacea, there are several different treatment options to keep your symptoms under control and stop the disease from progressing too far.

Symptoms can be treated with the following:

  • Pills
  • Medicinal skin creams that contain one of the following ingredients: azelaic acid, brimonidine, or metronidazole.
  • Lasers and light treatment can be used for flare ups.
  • Moisturizers and sunscreen can be used to protect your dry, sensitive skin.
  • Prescription eye drops or artificial tears can help to alleviate the dry, red eyes that often come with rosacea.

 

If you are showing symptoms of rosacea and haven’t seen a doctor yet, be sure to consult your physician or stop by an Urgent Care Clinic today.

How do warts form and how are they treated

The sometimes unsightly wart that most often pops up on your hand is nothing more than a skin growth that spawns from having some form of the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV.

This form of HPV impacts the top layer of your skin. It typically gets in your body through broken skin, i.e. an open wound or other type of scrape or cut.

When the virus enters, it forces the top layer of skin to grow more rapidly than normal, and the end result is a wart.

Common warts are mostly found on your hands, but they can actually grow anywhere on your body. Other types of warts grow other places, like plantar warts, for example, which grow on the soles of your feet.

How do warts spread?

Unfortunately, warts spread pretty easily. It happens through direct contact with HPV. If you’re already infected, you can double-infect yourself – in a manner of speaking – if you touch the wart and then touch another part of your body.

It’s easy to spread to other people as well by sharing the following items:

  • Towels
  • Razors
  • Other personal items

You might not notice a wart right after you come into contact with human papillomavirus. In fact, it can take months before a wart forms. It’s also important to note that some people are just more prone to warts than others.

What are the symptoms of a wart?

How do you know if you have a wart? Warts can look a variety of different ways:

  • They can be bumpy and rough on the surface.
  • They can be flat and smooth.
  • They can have dark spots in the center because of the tiny blood vessels that grow into the wart’s core to make sure it has a blood supply.

If you don’t know whether you have a wart, you can see your doctor, who will usually be able to tell if it’s a wart just by looking at it.

If not, the doctor could cut a small sample of the wart to give it a closer look under a microscope. That’s only done if the doctor isn’t sure if it’s a wart, or if one of the following conditions occur:

  • The skin growth is darker than the skin around the growth.
  • There’s an irregular patch on the skin.
  • The growth bleeds.
  • The growth is large and growing quickly.

How do you treat a wart?

The good news is that warts usually don’t hurt, but if it finds its home in a part of your body where you apply pressure (a finger or the bottom of your foot, for example), the wart can turn painful really fast.

Most warts don’t need to be treated. They’ll go away on their own within a few months.

Here are some treatments available if you decide to treat your wart:

  • Salicylic acid or duct tape. Both are available without a prescription.
  • Applying a stronger medicine on the wart, or getting a shot of medicine inside the wart.
  • Freezing the wart (cryotherapy).
  • Removing the wart with surgery (electrosurgery, curettage, laser surgery).

Even if you treat and destroy the wart, that doesn’t mean it won’t come back to haunt you. Most treatments kill the wart, but not the virus that causes the wart.

If you have any questions about your wart, stop by an Urgent Care clinic today.

 

All about eczema

Eczema- or atopic dermatitis – is a chronic skin condition that usually starts when you’re a newborn and lasts for several years, although some people have it forever.

It causes your skin to become itchy, red, dry and sometimes even blistery. You can find it on all parts of your body if you have it.

Although there is no cure, there are a lot of treatment options. Here’s everything you need to know about eczema.

What causes eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is still a mystery, but doctors and researchers believe it’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

You are more likely to suffer from eczema if one or both of your parents have it, and you’re also more likely to have eczema if your mother or father has another type of atopic (immune system) disease.

We know that genetics play a role in contracting the disease, but there are a lot of environmental factors that cause eczema symptoms, including:

  • Certain soaps, detergents, shampoos, cleaning products, fresh fruit juices, some meats, or even some vegetables
  • Allergens, like dust mites, pets, pollens, mold or dandruff
  • Viruses, fungi and certain kinds of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Extreme temperatures – very hot or very cold weather, as well as very high or very low humidity
  • Sweating from exercise or overexertion
  • Some foods, such as milk, cheese and eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products and wheat
  • For women, hormones can affect eczema symptoms, particularly when they are pregnant, on their period or going through menopause.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

When eczema flares up, the symptoms can vary depending on the severity of your condition and your age.

Most of the time, people who have eczema will go through periods of flare-ups, followed by a period of time when their symptoms are lessened or nonexistent.

In infants, these symptoms include:

  • Rashes on scalp and cheek
  • Rashes that typically bubble up and then ooze fluid.
  • Rashes that itch so much it can affect the baby’s sleep or cause skin infections from incessant scratching.

For children who are 2 years old until puberty, eczema symptoms could include the following:

  • Rashes often found behind their elbows or knees, as well as their necks, wrists, ankles, and the creases between their buttocks and legs.

Those symptoms can evolve over time and become the following:

  • Bumpy rashes, akin to goosebumps
  • Rashes that get lighter or darker
  • Rashes that become thicker and develop into knots and lead to “permanent itch.”

In adults, the rashes occur in the following places and can cause more scaly and drier skin, which causes skin infections:

  • The creases of elbows or knees or nape of the neck, or around the eyes and face
  • All over the body.

Even if you had eczema as a child and no longer have it as an adult, your skin is still more susceptible to irritation, and you can still develop eczema on your hands and eyes.

If you think you might have symptoms of eczema, contact your doctor or stop by an Urgent Care clinic today.

 

Everything You Need To Know About High Cholesterol

You often hear about cholesterol and how important it is to have healthy cholesterol levels, but how much do you really know about this fat-like substance in your blood?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance you will find in all the cells in your body. Cholesterol is necessary for several bodily functions, such as making hormones, vitamin D and compounds that help your body digest food.

A normal body produces all the cholesterol needed. This same fatty substance is also found in foods.

What happens when there’s too much cholesterol in my body?

High cholesterol is a condition in which your blood has too much cholesterol, which causes it to build up in the walls of your arteries.

When the cholesterol starts building in your arteries, you are at higher risk of the following:

  • Hardened arteries that slow down the flow of blood to your heart
  • Heart disease – the disease that kills more men and women in the United States each year than any other cause of death. Over one million Americans succumb to heart disease every year.
  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack

The scary thing about high cholesterol is that having high cholesterol doesn’t mean you will have symptoms. In fact, there are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol, so unless you monitor your cholesterol numbers with a doctor, you might not know until your arteries have already started to harden.

Even if you’re young, having healthy cholesterol levels is very, very important.

What do cholesterol numbers mean?

Once you turn 20 years old, it’s time to start having your cholesterol numbers checked at least once every five years. When you see your doctor, he will likely do a blood test called a “lipoprotein profile.”

Before you take the test, you have to fast for nine to twelve hours. The test will reveal the following information:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol – the kind of cholesterol that causes buildup on the walls of your arteries
  • HDL (good) cholesterol – the kind of cholesterol that helps keep the bad cholesterol from building up and hardening your arteries
  • Triglycerides–another kind of lipid in your blood that also causes heart problems if levels are too high

If for some reason you cannot get to your doctor and get tested regularly, if you know your total cholesterol and your good cholesterol numbers, then that can help you understand your overall levels.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more, or if your good cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL, you should see a doctor and get a lipoprotein profile done.

If you have any questions about high cholesterol or need to get a lipoprotein profile, stop by Urgent Care or give us a call today.

Head Lice Prevention and Treatment

There’s nothing worse than glancing at your child’s head and seeing the tiny, white dots in their hair. Oh, no. It’s head lice! What to do?

First things first, there’s no need to panic. Head lice might be gross, but they aren’t usually serious enough to make children sick.

Here’s everything you need to know about the six-legged insects that stick to your scalp and neck and feast on your blood.

Who gets head lice?

Head lice is most commonly found in children who:

  • Go to daycare
  • Attend preschool
  • Attend elementary school
  • Share brushes, hats, etc.

Head lice is also more likely for adults who live with children.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

You can see the critters when they’re there. Head lice can be white, brown or dark gray, and you’ll most likely find them behind the ears or at the back of the neck. Although head lice often don’t cause any symptoms or discomfort for the children who have them, there are a few signs that you or your child has a case:

  • Itchy head or scalp – this happens when the bites cause an allergic reaction.
  • Red bumps on your head, neck, shoulders or pubic area
  • Irritability
  • Problems sleeping
  • Small, white things in your hair

How do you prevent head lice?

It’s hard to prevent the kind of close contact that leads to head lice in children, but you can certainly try! Here are some things you can do to avoid infestations:

  • Don’t share things that touch your head – hair brushes, hats, scarves, towels, helmets, etc.
  • Try to make your children stay away from games that involve head-to-head contact with other children.
  • Keep long hair in a ponytail or braid.
  • Teach your children good hygiene.

How do you get rid of head lice?

If you or your child has lice, try the following things to get rid of them:

 

  • Over-the-counter lice treatment (medicated shampoo, cream rinse, lotions, etc.)
  • Prescription medications (ask your doctor)
  • Oral medications  (if nothing else is working)

It’s important to note that it can take a few days for the itching to stop, even if you’ve killed the lice. Also, if you don’t use the medication correctly, it won’t work, and that includes using too much. In fact, using too much of the medication can cause more harm than good.

After treatment, you should try combing your child’s hair with a fine-toothed comb. If it didn’t work, then your doctor might recommend that you try the same treatment again seven-ten days after the first treatment.

If you or your child has head lice and you don’t know what to do, be sure to consult your doctor or stop by Urgent Care.

 

6 things you should do after the cold or flu

You did everything you could to avoid the cold or flu – washed your hands often, got good rest, ate well – but you just couldn’t escape catching your coworker’s nasty sickness.

You’ve been stuck in bed for days, and now the worst of it is over. So, what’s next?

There are a number of things you should do when you are recovering from a cold or the flu, things that will help you to feel your best as quickly as possible.

Here are six of them:

  • Wash your hands often – Whether it’s after you eat, before you cook, after you shake someone’s hand, after you sneeze (the list goes on), you should keep your hands as free of germs as possible. Those are the same germs that can make you sick all over again.
  • Use a humidifier – If you use a humidifier, make sure you keep it clean. A clean humidifier running properly will add moisture to the air and make it easier for you to breathe. A humidifier is simply a device that emits water vapor, or steam, to add moisture to the air. It can help to prevent subsequent sinus infections after a cold.
  • Go heavy on the garlic – Garlic is a little strong for some people, and delicious for others. Whether you love it or hate it, garlic contains natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, which makes it a perfect food to help you overcome your cold or flu. If you can’t eat garlic by itself, try sprinkling little bits on your food. Researchers say fresh garlic is a better choice than processed garlic when you’re getting over an illness.
  • Don’t overdo it – Just because you’re starting to feel human again, doesn’t mean it’s OK to jump back into your marathon training. You should avoid strenuous exercise for about a week or two after a cold or the flu. If you’re feeling stir crazy, try going for a nice walk or a leisurely bike ride, but don’t stay out too long. You still need a lot of extra rest when you’re recovering from a cold or the flu.
  • Don’t stress yourself out – When you get stressed out, your body releases hormones in your bloodstream that can weaken your immune system. Remember, your immune system is already vulnerable immediately after a cold or the flu, so you don’t want to do anything to make yourself even more susceptible to a relapse. Don’t work a 12-hour day on your first day back at the office, and call in sick if you need to.
  • Loosen that mucus – You should try to get as much of that leftover mucus out of your body as possible. One way to do that is to blow your nose while you are in the shower. The hot, steamy air in the shower will loosen your nasal passages.

If you’ve done all of these things and you’re still feeling like your cold or flu is kicking you in the behind, come see us at Urgent Care so we can help you to start feeling better.

 

Can You Take Medicine After the Expiration Date?

You’ve likely had the experience in which you look in your medicine cabinet for a cure to your ailment, only to find that the medicine you have is expired.

Did you panic? What’s your next move? Is it safe to consume?

According to Harvard researchers, the answer is almost always yes.

What does the expiration date mean on drugs?

Here’s how the expiration date came to be on medicine:

  • A law passed in 1979 requires drug makers to place an expiration stamp on all of their medicines.
  • An expiration date for drugs is the date when the drug manufacturer can guarantee that the drug is at full potency and safe to consume.

Are drugs safe after their expiration date?

The Food and Drug Administration was asked to do a study on drug expiration dates to help the U.S. military. The military keeps a massive amount of drugs on hand, and it was very costly for the military to throw the unused drugs away every few years and buy new stockpiles.

Here’s the gist of the study:

  • The FDA tested more than 100 drugs
  • The drugs were both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Ninety percent of the drugs tested were perfectly safe to take, even if it was 15 years after the expiration date listed on the bottle.

Because of the study and other indicators, medical researchers have concluded that expired drugs are OK.

A lot of people believe that expired medications are somehow toxic, but there’s no evidence that closely suggests that notion.  

Are there exceptions?

Researchers say there could be a few exceptions to the guideline:

  • Tetracycline – an antibiotic that’s used to treat a number of different illnesses
  • Nitroglycerin – used to treat heart conditions
  • Insulin – used to treat diabetes
  • Liquid antibiotics – These medicines are not as stable as pills. It’s safer not to take these after the expiration date, especially if you notice discoloration.

They also say that the potency of the drug could decrease over time, but it is still almost as potent 10 years later. What many people don’t know is that expiration dates are purposely overly conservative, just to be on the safe side. If you want to make sure your drugs remain as potent as possible, try storing them in a cool place, like a refrigerator. And if you’re still unsure about whether it is safe to consume expired medicines, talk to your doctor or local pharmacist.