Top 5 Reasons for Thanksgiving ER Visits

By | Health Basics, Safety | No Comments

Deep Fried Turkey Danger on ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, enjoying time spent with friends and family, and good food. Amid all the merriment and festivities, there is an increased chance for injury and accident. Here are the top five reasons people go to the ER during the Thanksgiving holiday (and some ways to avoid them):

  1. Over Indulgence

Thanksgiving is known for being an indulgent holiday, so it’s no surprise that one of the main reasons people visit the ER is for eating or drinking too much. This can result in chest pain, upset stomach and sometimes an irregular heartbeat. Know your limits and when to say “no more” this Thanksgiving.

  1. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning doesn’t just come from a crazy concoction your great aunt brought to the table. The most common cause of food poisoning is from food being left out too long and reaching an unsafe temperature. The danger zone for bacteria growth that can lead to food poisoning is between 41 and 140 degrees. To keep food safe, keep hot food hot and cold food cold, and don’t allow food to sit out for long periods of time.

  1. Auto Accident

The busiest travel weekend of the year is Thanksgiving weekend, and more DUI arrests happen between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year. With busier roads and more chances of enjoying one drink too many, people can end up in the ER after an accident. Enjoying drinks with family and friends at the dinner table can be great, just make sure you know your limits – or, better yet, designate a sober driver.

  1. Knife Injuries

Before you even sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, you could end up in the ER! Make sure not to do any food prep work with dull knives, as that can increase risk of cuts. When using a knife, make sure to also take your time and focus on the task at hand to decrease the risk of cutting yourself.

  1. Burns

Another common kitchen accident at Thanksgiving is burns. Just like when using a knife, if you are handling hot foods — especially oils that can spatter easily — take your time and focus on your task. Avoid wearing loose clothing that could potentially catch fire, especially if you want to deep fry your turkey, which results in 60 injuries every year.

 

When emergencies happen, you want the best care and FAST, especially over the holidays. Every emergency matters at Five Star ER, and our patient-centered care means you come first. Plus, with all the care of a traditional ER minus the wait you can get in and out — and back to Thanksgiving dinner fast. Find your nearest Five Star ER location

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is owned and operated by the physicians of US Acute Care Solutions, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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National Diabetes Awareness Month

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Approximately 9.4% of the population, or about 30.3 million Americans, has either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. With proper control, diabetes can be managed and diabetics can live long, healthy lives. But even those in the best control can sometimes require emergency medical care. In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, here are some things you should do if you ever need to offer help to a diabetic in an emergency.

  1. Know the Signs

Everyone will react differently in a diabetic emergency. Sometimes a diabetic can be having a reaction due to high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. This is when the person’s blood sugar levels are too high due to too little insulin in their body. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include: extreme thirst or hunger, frequent urination, nausea, fast heart rate, blurred vision and drowsiness. The other cause of an extreme reaction is low blood sugar is hypoglycemia. This is due to there being too much insulin and not enough carbohydrates in the diabetic’s blood stream. Symptoms for low blood sugar include: shaking, sweating, anxiety, dizziness, irritability, weakness, extreme mood changes. Very extreme cases can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures and coma.

 

  1. Assess the Situation

Because a diabetic emergency can be caused by two very different reasons, it is important to assess the situation. If the person is unconscious or unresponsive, always call 9-1-1 first. If the person is responsive, you can help them to test their blood sugar. This will help determine the right kind of help to offer. A low blood sugar is generally considered anything less than 80 mg/dl. A high blood sugar varies, but if the glucose meter says 250 mg/dl or above that is considered high.

 

  1. Offer Help

If the person is having a low blood sugar reaction, the best way to help is to provide fast-acting carbohydrates for the person to eat. This can include juice, fruits, or soda. Often the diabetic will be carrying such a food around for instances like this. If they are confused, help them to find this food item or provide one of your own. Wait with the person and have them continue to test their blood sugar every 10 minutes.

If they are having a high blood sugar reaction, do not give the person any food as this may only worsen the condition. The best thing to do is to get the person to an emergency room, like Five Star ER, as soon as possible. There they will receive the diagnostic testing to see if the person is suffering a complication like Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and provide the right medical treatment to safely lower their blood sugar.

 

Emergencies happen, and when they do you want the best care FAST. For diabetics who are having severe reactions, just a few minutes can make a huge difference, so trust the board-certified doctors and expert staff at Five Star ER to take care of you with all the care you’d expect from a traditional emergency room with none of the wait.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is owned and operated by the physicians of US Acute Care Solutions, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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Halloween Safety Tips

By | Health Basics | No Comments

From wearing costumes to walking around outside at night, there are many potential hazards on Halloween. On average, children are twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. And while 75% of parents say they choose a costume with safety in mind, only a fraction of kids take precautionary measures like walking with flashlights.

Halloween can be scary, but you don’t have to be scared for all the wrong reasons. When you are trick-or-treating, these 10 tips can keep everyone safe and ensure a fun night:

  1. Make sure children under the age of 12 always trick-or-treat with an adult.
  2. Always walk, not run, from house to house.
  3. Use crosswalks, traffic signals and stay on sidewalks or paths. If there is no sidewalk, you should walk facing traffic, as far left as possible.
  4. Choose costumes that have light colored fabrics, are marked as flame resistant, and fit well to prevent painful trips and falls.
  5. Glow sticks can be a fun way to increase kids’ visibility to drivers as well as increase their vision.
  6. Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their child’s costumes, but the use of reflective tape can make you and your kids more visible to drivers.
  7. Don’t carry swords, canes, or other sharp objects that could injure a child if they fall.
  8. Always test face make-up on a small area of skin before wearing to make sure there are no adverse reactions such as irritation or an allergic reaction. Always choose make-up that is non-toxic.
  9. Only eat treats that are factory-wrapped, and always check for evidence of tampering before consumption.
  10. Talk to your kids about safety every year and before Halloween night. The excitement of Halloween may distract kids, so parents should have regular conversations about safety in the weeks leading to Halloween.

Even with the best preparation and planning, emergencies happen. And when they do, you can count on Five Star ER. Our experienced medical team can treat adults and kids of all ages, providing the care you’d expect from a traditional emergency room with none of the wait. With locations throughout the greater Austin area, no matter where you are celebrating Halloween there is a Five Star ER near you. Click here to find your nearest location.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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Get Ready for National Health Education Week: October 16-20

By | Health Basics, Lifestyle | No Comments

October 16-20 is National Health Education Week! Five Star ER encourages everyone to take control of their well-being and learn new ways to improve their health. Knowledge is a proactive and powerful health tool, so here are five actionable ways to learn more about your health this week:

  1. Take a Healthy Cooking Class

An easy way to take control of your health is to learn to make healthy, homemade meals. An unhealthy diet contributes to over 650,000 deaths each year in the U.S. and can leads to diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Learning to make healthy meals that include lots of fresh, green vegetables and are low in fat can help keep you and your family in good shape and prevent obesity-related diseases.

  1. Learn your Family’s Medical History

Knowing your family’s medical history can help you learn more about your risk for certain diseases, and lead you to make healthy choices that may help prevent those same issues for yourself. If you can, the easiest way to learn your family’s health history is to talk to your family members, including extended family, for any illnesses they may have that can be hereditary like high blood pressure, cancers, and more. Be sure to write down any information so that you can refer to it later.

  1. Have an Annual Physical

An annual physical can often be the first step to learning what you may be at risk for, or what illnesses you may already have. Many insurance companies fully cover one physical a year with your primary care physician, and the annual physical can be an important tool in learning about your own health.

  1. Research any Current Diagnoses

If you are one of the 133 million Americans with a chronic condition, like diabetes, depression, or asthma you should be doing research to stay up-to-date on your condition. Through knowledge not only can you better advocate for yourself but many chronic illnesses are manageable with proper detection and treatment. When doing research, you should look to reputable websites and sources like government resources such as the National Institute of Health, or talk to your doctor.

  1. Learn What to do and Where to go in a Medical Emergency

Creating an emergency plan can help you be better prepared for any situation. You should have a plan which includes a kit with basic medical supplies, like band-aids and aspirin. You should also know the closest place to go to seek medical emergency care. Five Star ER offers on-site laboratories and diagnostic tests, like CT scans, so you can get answers faster. And with several Austin locations along major highways, Five Star ER is a great choice when emergencies happen. Learn where you closest Five Star ER location is here.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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We’re Nuts About Allergy Safety!

By | Environment, Health Basics | No Comments

Food Allergies

October 22 is National Nut Day, and while you may enjoy a mixed nut snack or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an estimated 4% of the U.S. population have a food allergy, including nut allergies. For those 13 million Americans with food allergies, they must take precautions to avoid coming in contact with specific foods as allergies can become dangerous and even deadly very quickly.

For mild reactions, common symptoms include digestive problems, hives, flushing or itching. These symptoms should be treated by a doctor but may not need emergency medical care. However, every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room due to anaphylaxis, which can include the tightening or closing of the airway, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

“Be very respectful of food allergy symptoms, including any tongue, throat or facial swelling, problems swallowing, breathing difficulties like wheezing, multiple episodes of vomiting, or significant dizziness or faintness,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director at Five Star ER in Round Rock. “These symptoms can come very quickly after ingestion of foods such as nuts. You should seek immediate emergency medical care for the above symptoms or call 911 if the symptoms quickly progress.”

In the most serious of cases, a person who has been exposed to an allergy may enter anaphylactic shock. This occurs when there is not enough blood flowing to critical organs during an allergic reaction. If you ever see someone who is having a severe allergic reaction, take these steps to help them:

  1. Know the symptoms of anaphylaxis!

Along with the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to know other signs of anaphylaxis and that only a few symptoms may be present. The severity of symptoms can change quickly, and because some symptoms are life threatening the patient may not be able to tell you they are having an allergic reaction. You can find a list of anaphylaxis symptoms here.

  1. Act Fast

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and referred to by the brand name of EpiPen, is the only effective treatment once someone is in anaphylaxis. If someone is in anaphylaxis you will need to inject them with epinephrine, and more than one dose may need to be given. Antihistamines and asthma inhalers are not effective treatments for anaphylaxis.

  1. Seek Emergency Medical Care

If the person is unconscious or has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately after giving epinephrine. All people who are having an allergic reaction should seek immediate medical care. Five Star ER has highly trained, board certified doctors and nurses on staff who can treat an allergic reaction 24/7. You will receive the care you’d expect from a traditional emergency room, but without the wait. With convenient locations throughout the Austin area, located along main highways, you can be seen by a doctor within minutes.

Emergencies happen. And when they do, you need the best care — FAST. That’s why when you visit Five Star ER we will take care of you from the moment you arrive with speed, compassion and quality care. Click here to find the Five Star ER location nearest you.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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World Heart Day: What is a Heart Attack?

By | Health Basics | No Comments

World Heart Day - Five Star ER

Heart health is at the heart of all health. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, killing 17.5 million people a year. That’s a third of all deaths on the planet and half of all non-communicable-disease-related deaths!

Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. During a heart attack, the oxygen supply that powers the heart muscles is reduced or cut off completely. This can lead to heart muscle damage and even death if not treated immediately.

According to the American Heart Association, someone in the United States suffers from a heart attack every 43 seconds, and 88 percent of heart attacks happen at home. Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and acting quickly could save your life, or the life of a loved one.

Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

  • Chest pain or discomfort. This can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes this pain can radiate down your arm, into your back, up to your neck or jaw, or into your stomach. This pain can last for a few minutes and then come back, or may not go away.
  • Shortness of breath. This can happen with or without chest pain.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness, and sometimes fainting.

These symptoms can differ in men and women and by age. Women are more likely to experience more than just one symptom, such as chest pain in addition to shortness of breath. A heart attack generally causes chest pain for more than 15 minutes, but it can also have no symptoms at all. It’s important to be aware that symptoms other than chest pain may occur, such as indigestion or neck or jaw pain that is persisting despite the use of medications.

What to Do in an Emergency

  1. Call 911Don’t ignore or attempt to tough-out the symptoms of a heart attack for more than five minutes. See emergency medical attention immediately. If you cannot call 911 for emergency medical help, have a neighbor or a friend drive you to the nearest hospital.
  1. Begin CPRIf you are with a person who is unconscious and you think he/she might be having a heart attack, begin hands-only CPR until help arrives.
  1. Use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) If AvailableIf an AED is available, attach the device and follow instructions that will be provided by the AED after it has evaluated the person’s condition.

Emergencies happen. And when they do, you need the best care — FAST. That’s why when you visit Five Star ER we will take care of you from the moment you arrive with speed, compassion and quality care. Click here to find the Five Star ER location nearest you.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

By | Health Basics | No Comments

National Preparedness Month

Life happens unexpectedly and disasters don’t plan ahead. The good news is you can prepare for the unexpected by creating a family plan. This September, as part of National Preparedness Month, Five Star ER encourages everyone to develop an emergency plan and take a few simple steps to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Creating a Family Emergency Plan

In the event of an emergency, natural or otherwise, it is important to make sure that your family’s basic needs are being met and everyone is safe. The most effective way of to do this is to have a plan in place. It’s very easy to panic during an emergency, but being mentally and physically prepared may help to minimize that feeling of panic. It also enables you to keep your family calm, cool, collected, and most importantly, safe. If you don’t already have an emergency plan, use this printable template from the American Red Cross.

Have a Disaster Supply Kit Ready

Having a disaster supply kit is essential to an effective emergency preparedness plan. Stock your supply kits with medical supplies, medications, non-perishable foods, water, batteries, blankets, clothing, and other items. Additionally, having a first aid kit in your home and your car can keep you prepared in the event of an emergency.

Know Where to Go for Emergency Care

Life-threatening emergencies can happen fast. Your family emergency plan should also include where to get emergency medical care. Knowing where to go for the best emergency care before an emergency happens can help keep your family safe.

Five Star ER has locations throughout the greater Austin area serving the emergency medical needs of children and adults of all ages. Our experienced emergency room physicians, state-of-the-art technology, and compassionate staff at every location are prepared to make sure you feel confident in the services we provide and feel cared for from the moment you arrive. Our locations have been chosen carefully, near major streets and highways

 

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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Heads Up, Parents: Watch Out For Concussions!

By | Health Basics, Uncategorized | No Comments

Football-Concussion-ConcernsA new school year means it’s time for football season to start. As a parent, you are your player’s biggest cheerleader, on and off the field. While you support and cheer you should also watch out for concussions. It is estimated that 300,000 high school athletes experience a concussion each year. While you might think that an overwhelming amount of these concussions occur during the player’s games, a new study shows otherwise.

This study found that for youth, high school, and collegiate football players, a majority of concussions happened during practices. Practice tends to have more people playing, more player-to-player contact, and more opportunities for potential injuries. Implementing safer practice strategies that focus on limiting player-to-player contact and other potential injuries can help reduce the risks that football players face.

Another way to reduce the negative effects of sports concussions is to watch for warning signs and ensure players seek treatment early if they do sustain a concussion while playing. Beware: warning signs are not always what you think!

“Loss of consciousness does not have to occur to have a concussion,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director of Five Star ER in Round Rock. “Actually, it only occurs in about 10 percent of concussions.”

Talking to your child and making sure they understand the dangers of a concussion, and when to report it, is also important! According to one survey, 75% of high school athletes said they would continue playing with an injury to win a game. Additionally, studies show that athletes may not even report a concussion or injury for fear of missing a game or letting down their teammates.

Help keep players safe on and off the field by knowing how to spot a concussion. Warning signs of a potential concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or seeing stars
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nasuea
  • Vomiting
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed response to questions

If you think your athlete is suffering from a concussion, it is critical to seek medical attention. Five Star ER will get you in and out, and feeling better fast, because your emergency matters to us!

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on FacebookInstagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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picnic salads

Don’t Bring Foodborne Illness to Your Next Get-Together

By | Health Basics, Lifestyle | No Comments

If there is one thing Texans are known for, it’s BBQ and summer backyard get-togethers! But what many people don’t know is that the warmer weather can invite a lot of unwanted guests to your next cookout, picnic or outdoor party in the form of bacteria and foodborne illness. Yes, you read that right: foodborne illnesses increase during the summer. The reason why is twofold: (1) bacteria multiply faster in warmer temperatures, and (2) preparing food outdoors makes safe food handling more difficult.

“People think of burns and other grilling mishaps when they think of outdoor food emergencies this time of year, but in reality, emergency rooms see many patients during the summer who get sick from eating salads and other food that has been in the heat too long,” said Marysol Imler, RN, vice president of Five Star ER.

Cooking Outdoors

One challenge of cooking outdoors is the lack of safety controls that an indoor kitchen provides such as a refrigerator and a sink to wash hands and food. Foodborne bacteria grow fastest at temperatures between 90 and 110°F. During the summer months, the warmer temperatures and higher humidity are ideal for bacterial growth. This means that food items that are not properly cleaned, cooked or stored can lead to someone getting sick.

Before your next outdoor party, picnic, BBQ or camping trip, review these four simple steps to keep food safe: clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean: Make sure your hands are clean and wash them often to prevent the spread of germs!

  • If possible, wash hands under running water for at least 20 seconds using warm water and plenty of soap.
  • If a sink is not available (say you’re camping), bring water for preparation and cleaning or pack clean, wet, disposable washcloths, moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.

Separate: Keep raw and cooked foods away from each other! Improper handling of food, kitchen tools and surfaces can cause microorganisms to transfer from raw to cooked food. Cross-contamination during preparation, grilling, and serving food is a prime cause of foodborne illness.

  • Use separate plates and utensils to keep foods separate.
  • When packing items in a cooler, use bags/wrap to keep raw meats and their juices from coming into contact with other foods.

Cook: Use a thermometer to prevent foodborne illness. Food safety experts agree that food is safely cooked when it is heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Using a food thermometer is the only way to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood and egg products.

  • Cook all raw meats and poultry to the minimum 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

Chill: Foods left out and not stored properly are a breeding ground for bacteria that cause foodborne illness.

  • Cold, refrigerated, perishable foods like luncheon meats, cooked meats, chicken, and potato or pasta salads should be kept in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, ice packs or containers of frozen water.
  • Consider packing canned beverages in one cooler, and perishable food in another cooler, because the beverage cooler may be opened frequently causing the temperature inside of the cooler to fluctuate and become unsafe.
  • While driving, keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car. Once outside, place it in the shade or out of the sun whenever possible.
  • Preserve the cold temperature of the cooler by replenishing the ice as soon as it starts to melt.

 

Friends, family and food: nothing is better and more fun than summer get-togethers! But if things end up a little less than fun, we’re here to help. We’ll get you in and out and feeling better fast, because your emergency matters to us! Find the Five Star ER location nearest you.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

Connect with Five Star ER on FacebookInstagram and Google+ for more information and health tips!

 

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heat exhaustion

Your Body Isn’t Thrilled About Humid Days Either

By | Environment, Health Basics | No Comments

Texas summers are known to be hot, but when coupled with high humidity, the weather here can be brutal. While hot, humid weather can make anyone uncomfortable, it can also be deadly. Read on to learn how humidity affects the body’s ability to cool down on summer days, as well as warning signs to watch out for.

Why Humidity Matters

One reason humidity makes hot weather more unbearable is that the higher the relative humidity, the higher the temperature feels. For example, an outside temperature of 95° feels like 95° when the relative humidity is 30%. When the humidity is increased to 65%, that same 95° feels like a whopping 117°! A heat index chart factors relative humidity into temperature to provide a more accurate assessment of what the temperature feels like.

Today we are talking about heat and dehydration

Posted by Five Star ER on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When outside temperatures approach the temperature of the human body (about 98°), the body undergoes a series of changes to help keep it cool, even if you are not exercising. The body cools itself by opening pores on the skin and releasing water and salts (sweat). As the water evaporates, it transfers the body’s heat to the air. But humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so the body’s heat stays put.

The concentration of water in the air, relative to the temperature (relative humidity), determines the rate at which the water can evaporate from the skin. When the air is holding more moisture (relative to the total moisture it could hold at that temperature), it is harder for the air to absorb the sweat from our skin. The result? We sweat and sweat, but instead of feeling any relief, we simply feel hot and sticky.

High Humidity Can Be Dangerous

The problem with high humidity making us feel hotter is not just that we are more uncomfortable, but that our core temperature is actually rising, and our bodies compensate by working harder and harder to cool us down. When sweating doesn’t work to cool us down and we continue to heat up, heat exhaustion results, which causes loss of the water, salt, and chemicals that the body needs.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness, fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Muscle and abdominal cramps
  • Mild temperature elevations
  • Weakness

Key ways to avoid overheating are first, to be aware of not only the temperature, but the heat index; to drink plenty of water; and to take it easy, slow down, and cool off when noticing any sign of fatigue, headache, or increased pulse.

“You have to stay hydrated,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director of Five Star ER in Round Rock, TX. “Cover up your skin with loose-fitting clothing as much as possible, stay out of the direct heat as much as possible, obviously sun screen and hats and visors are helpful to protect your skin, and just drink lots of fluids.”

Texas summers wouldn’t be the same without venturing into the great outdoors. But if things end up a little less than fun, we’re here to help. We’ll get you in and out and feeling better fast, because your emergency matters to us! Click to find the Five Star ER location nearest you: http://fivestarer.com/locations

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.

Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.

This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.

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