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! 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.

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

 

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Don’t Be a Statistic: Drive Safe This July 4th Weekend

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AmbulancesPlanning on traveling this Fourth of July weekend? You’re not alone! A record 44.2 million people are planning to travel to celebrate America’s independence and 37.5 million of those people plan to drive to their destination. With more cars on the road this time of year it’s no accident that the July 4th weekend is one of the deadliest each year.

In fact, 36 people in Texas died last year during the July 4th weekend, more than any other holiday weekend except for New Year’s. The record-setting number of fatalities this time of year is a combination of increased drunk driving and a large number of motorcycles on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, alcohol was a factor in 47% of July 4th traffic fatalities. The normal daily average is only 35%. For motorcycle riders, there is an average of 26 deaths on July 4th, compared to the normal daily average of 12.1 the rest of the year.

“With all of the parties and festivities such as Fourth of July, I have seen so many young people die in motor vehicle crashes during the summer months,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director at Five Star ER in Round Rock. “These victims are often recent graduates, new parents, even newly licensed drivers. They had their whole life in front of them only to have it cut short by drunk driving or being killed by a drunk driver.”

Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy Fourth of July festivities without causing an accident! Before you hit the road to celebrate this long holiday weekend, make sure you take steps to avoid an auto accident.

  • Designate a sober driver, call a cab or use a ride-share: If you are planning on drinking, make plans for how you will get home. See whether one of your friends or relatives is willing to be the designated driver. If everyone wants a cocktail or two, plan on using a taxi or calling a ride-sharing service.
  • Provide alcohol-free refreshments: If you are the host, ensure your designated drivers have something refreshing to enjoy. Mix up some alcohol-free cocktails so they can feel like part of the fun without the negative consequences.
  • Plan an overnight celebration: If you and your social group like to party hard, consider an overnight celebration at someone’s home, a hotel, or an Airbnb. That way everyone can enjoy good food, great drinks, a late night, and sleep it all off before heading home the next day.
  • Drive carefully: Even if you are sober and ready to drive, others on the road might not be. Never speed on your way home and keep a watchful eye out for swerving or erratic drivers. If someone is one the road who clearly should not be, immediately call the vehicle and its license number into the police. It could save someone’s life.

Road trips and traveling are part of summer fun. 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. Find the location nearest you.

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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Fireworks Safety: Light Up the Night and Stay Safe!

By | Health Basics, Lifestyle | No Comments

Fireworks Danger

The 4th of July wouldn’t be the same without backyard barbecues, parades, and of course, fireworks! While firework displays are a great way to celebrate, make sure you and everyone in your family know about firework safety. Even the smallest fireworks (yes, sparklers included!) can send someone to the ER.

Unfortunately, there are no such things as “safe” fireworks. If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in both kids and adults. Over 30 percent of the 5,200 injuries from fireworks each year happen to children—most of which are from sparklers, novelty devices, and aerial devices. These injuries include burns, lacerations, and even partial finger amputations. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend a local public firework displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

If you do choose to use fireworks at home, here are a few safety guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association to follow:

  1. Always check local laws and regulations. Anything that’s banned is also unregulated, which means it could be dangerous. Also, don’t purchase any professional-grade products to use at home. You’ll know a product isn’t meant for home use, because it won’t have colorful packaging or safety labeling meant for consumers and may instead look generic or be sold in a brown paper bag.
  2. Don’t let kids touch or light fireworks. While some fireworks–like sparklers–may seem harmless, they can cause serious injury. In fact, sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees which is equal to a blow torch and is hot enough to melt some metals.
  3. Plan ahead. Before you light any fireworks at home, make sure to have a bucket of water or garden hose ready. Always light fireworks one at a time and never try to get close or relight a firework that fails to go off.
  4. Be smart! Never throw fireworks or point them toward another person. Also don’t shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  5. Prevent fires. After a firework is finished, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash or grass fire.

If you get burned by fireworks, you may also need the professionals to treat your injuries. Second-degree burns are characterized by blisters, swollen skin, and significant pain, according to Dr. Greg Hadden, medical director at Five Star ER-Dripping Springs. Run the injured area under cool water (not ice water) to relieve pain and reduce heat, then apply antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage with clean gauze. More serious second- and third-degree burns require an ER evaluation and may even warrant referral to a specialist.

Enjoying fireworks and relaxing in the great outdoors are part of summer fun. 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

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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. Find the location nearest you.

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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Don’t Let Grilling Injuries Ruin Your Summer Cookout

By | Health Basics, Lifestyle | No Comments

Grill Safety 101Fire? Check. Food? Check. Alcohol? Check. What could possibly go wrong when grilling outdoors? As it turns out, a whole lot! According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 18,000 people are sent to the ER each year because of grilling-related accidents. Summer is in full swing in Central Texas, and there’s no better time than now to freshen up on grilling safety! Take a look at our Grill Safety 101 survival guide that will help you and your family have a safe barbecuing season!

 

Safety Tip #1

Keep anything (or anyone) that can be burned away from the grill. Never leave a lit grill unattended, especially if children or pets are around. Clothing like shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings can also easily catch fire so be sure to wear appropriate clothes and to make sure they don’t come into contact with open flames. Finally, never try to move a lit or hot grill. And remember, the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.

Safety Tip #2

Use long-handled utensils such as spatulas, tongs, forks and brushes designed specifically for grilling to avoid getting too close to the flames.

Safety Tip #3

Don’t leave perishables out for more than one hour to prevent bacteria from growing. The temperature “danger zone” is between 70° F and 130° F, where it is estimated that harmful bacteria can rapidly multiply as often as every 10 minutes. It’s scary to think about, but each year more than 400,000 people suffer from foodborne illness after eating contaminated food.

Safety Tip #4

Keep cooked meats away from raw meats. Using the same platter or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood allows bacteria from the raw food’s juices to spread to the cooked food. Instead, have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side to serve your food.

Safety Tip #5

Always use a thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

 

Grilling and relaxing in the great outdoors is part of summer fun. 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 nearest you: http://fivestarer.com/locations

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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. Find the location nearest you.

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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Tips To Having An Eggcellent (And Safe!) Easter

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Egg hunts, family get-togethers and backyard BBQs make Easter a fun time of year for everyone! Don’t let an accident or injury spoil the fun! Use these tips to keep your kids and family safe.

Check For Rotten Eggs!

Decorating eggs is a fun tradition for many families, but did you know Salmonella can be found on both the inside and outside of eggs? To avoid cross contamination and possible illness make sure you store and cook eggs properly before dying. Always wash your hands thoroughly (and your kids too!) before and after handling raw or uncooked eggs.

Hunt Low, Not High

If you are planning to have an Easter egg hunt, make sure to hide eggs in places that are not too high for kids to reach to avoid falls and injuries. Also avoid placing eggs near the street or driveway if there are cars/vehicles coming and going. It’s easy for kids to get excited during holiday celebrations so make sure there is plenty of adult supervision at all times!

Designate Egg Hunt Boundaries

Set up a boundary for an outdoor Easter egg hunt so kids are not wandering off or into places that aren’t safe or supervised. It may also be good idea to separate kids in age groups to prevent big kids from knocking over smaller kids.

Check All The Eggs In Your Basket

If it’s small enough to fit inside of an Easter egg, it’s small enough to fit inside of a child’s mouth. Prevent choking hazards by checking that all toys and candy are age appropriate for the little ones at your Easter gathering.

Stay Safe Outdoors

If you are going to be outside for long periods for an Easter egg hunt or other outdoor activities, remember to apply sunscreen to prevent getting sun burned. Broad spectrum (UVA & UVB protection) with at least a 15 SPF should be used. If you burn easily, then you should use higher SPF. Also remember to drink plenty of fluids and seek shade for rest to prevent dehydration and heat illness.

About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, L.P., a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for more than 28 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. To find the location nearest you, click here.

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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Know the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

By | Health Basics, Lifestyle | No Comments

Spring break is that time of year when college students head out with friends to take a break from studies. SXSW and other spring break activities are fun, but you should be aware of the dangers of binge drinking.

Five Star ER Medical Director, Dr. Greg Hadden says “Visits to the ER for alcohol intoxication have surged in the last decade. Being irresponsible with alcohol consumption can lead to a costly ER bill, severe injury to the intoxicated person, and sometimes even death. Each year thousands of young healthy people die from just consuming alcohol irresponsibly. Even more die from the poor decisions that they make while intoxicated such as driving, boating, etc.”

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is defined as having a very high level of alcohol in the body which can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, body temperature and more. Without medical help, a person suffering from alcohol poisoning can die. Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time is referred to as binge drinking and is the most common cause of alcohol poisoning.

What Are The Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

Common signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing and low body temperature. However, it’s not necessary to have all the symptoms before you seek medical help. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, seek immediate medical care. A person with alcohol poisoning who is unconscious or can’t be awakened is at risk of dying.

Who Is At Risk For Alcohol Poisoning?

While any adult who consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time is at risk for alcohol poisoning, college students are more likely to binge drink.
According to one study, during spring break the average college aged male reported drinking 18 drinks per day and the average college aged female reported up to 10 drinks per day – an amount well above the safe levels of alcohol consumption. Researchers estimate that around 50% of college students will drink until they pass out at least one time during spring break. 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each school year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.

How Do You Prevent Alcohol Poisoning?

Nobody wants to eliminate the fun of spring break, but you should always make safety a priority. Here are a few tips:

1. Stay hydrated
2. Avoid having several drinks during a short period of time
3. Know your own alcohol limits
4. Don’t drink and drive
5. Seek emergency medical help if you suspect alcohol poisoning
About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, L.P., a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for more than 28 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. To find the location nearest you, click here.

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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