Category Archive: Summer Safety

4 Things You Should Know About Hives

Posted by on June 1, 2018

Hives

Summer is here! Finally, you can enjoy long hours of sunlight, green grass, lush trees, swimming and BBQs. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to enjoy anything if you’re dealing with a pesky summer illness–like hives.

Hives are a common (and annoying) health condition that many of us find perplexing.

What are they? What causes them? Why do some people get them and others don’t?

Keep reading for some key information about hives (also known as urticaria).

What Are Hives?

Hives–or urticaria–is a skin reaction that results in raised, red welts or bumps. These welts can often be itchy and irritated. Sometimes, they burn or sting.

Urticaria can appear as a single welt or several welts in a patch, forming what is known as a plaque. These itchy welts can last anywhere from 6-12 hours, but they often disappear sooner.

Hives Are Common During The Summer

Believe it or not, there is a form of hives that occurs as a response to a body’s own sweat.

This condition, cholinergic urticaria, is sometimes known as heat bumps. Cholinergic urticaria occurs as a reaction to the immunoglobulin released in sweat during exercise or a raise in body temperature.

Because we spend more time outside in the heat during summer, cases of heat-related urticaria are more common during the summer months.

Urticaria can be caused by more than sweating, however.

Many people have allergies to shellfish, and break out in itchy, red welts if they consume shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster or scallops. Many of us consume more seafood during the summer, especially if we go on vacation to tropical or beach locales.  

It’s important to be aware of shellfish ingredients at any new restaurant, picnic or cookout, no matter the time of year.

Other causes of hives?

  • Medications
  • Allergens (pollen, pet dander, latex)
  • Tight clothing
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Alcohol

Talk to your doctor about underlying health conditions that may be causing your hive outbreak if you can’t figure out a culprit.

Hives Can Appear Anywhere On The Body

Many people think urticaria can only appear on the face, neck and chest.

In fact, it can appear anywhere on the body. Cases of urticaria have been reported on the feet, hands, legs and back. It’s important to be aware of your hives outbreak, even if the welts pop up on unusual parts of the body.

When Should You See A Doctor About Your Hives?

Urticaria generally subsides within a few hours and leave no skin abrasions or marks behind.

However, you should see a medical professional for urticaria that last more than a few days. Similarly, hives that appear as the result of an allergic reaction should be monitored closely. Visit your doctor immediately if you notice your breathing becomeing heavier or labored after a hives breakout.

Our four Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care locations are open seven days a week to care for you should you experience any summertime illness.

West Nashville –  On Charlotte Pike, in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center

Brentwood –  Off Old Hickory Blvd, near Firebirds and the Well Coffee Shop

Berry Farms – Located off the Goose Creek Bypass in the Berry Farms Town Center, just down from Publix.

Franklin – On the corner of Route 96 & Carothers Parkway in front of Williamson County Medical Center.

 

These Are The Most Common Summer Health Problems.

Posted by on May 1, 2018

Summer Health Problems

Summer is right around the bend, bringing summer sports, vacations, cookouts, family holidays–and plenty of seasonal illnesses and health concerns.

Even though winter gets the worst rap for being the “season of illness,” summer also has its fair share of sickness floating around.

Today, we’re looking at a few of the most common summer illnesses so you can prepare for the hot months before they arrive.

Summer Illness #1: Insect/Arachnid Bites and Stings

Tennessee is home to several species of insect and arachnid that show up when the weather gets warm. Many of those insects sting or bite. Others can actually carry diseases.

Ticks are a big threat during the summer months, with their activity peaking from May – July. In Tennessee, there are over 15 species of tick, with the lone star tick, brown dog tick and the American dog tick most common. These arachnids carry several dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Erlichiosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, and most alarmingly, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The most common signs of these infections are a fever, body aches or a rash after a tick bite, and you should seek medical attention immediately should you experience them.  

Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying summer insects. They can also carry bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses like West Nile Virus, dengue fever and La Crosse encephalitis. To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, it’s important to wear light colored clothes and wear mosquito-repellent if you can. You should also avoid going outside during peak mosquito hours (like dawn and dusk when wind is the stillest).

Other insects and arachnids are also more active–and likely to bite or sting–during the summer. Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, bed bugs, ants and a variety of spiders can be summer nuisances that bite and sting.

Even if you don’t have a bite-related allergy, it’s important to seek medical attention for any bites that are suspicious-looking or feel irritated for extended periods of time.

Summer Illness #2: Heat Exhaustion

Summers in Tennessee are notoriously hot. Average temperatures in July and August hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, making it dangerous to be outdoors for long periods of time.

One of the effects of prolonged exposure to a heat index of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter is the risk of heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person’s internal temperature reaches around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are a few of the symptoms:

  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Flushed Skin

Hot weather, coupled with dehydration, can lead to heat exhaustion and, eventually, heatstroke.

While heat exhaustion can be reversed by getting out of the heat, drinking fluids, removing tight or insulating clothing and resting, heatstroke is much more serious.

Heatstroke occurs when your body temperature soars to around 104-106 degrees Fahrenheit, causing confusion, slurred speech, agitation, headache, and rapid breathing and pulse.

Heatstroke requires emergency medical attention.

So how can you avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

First, always wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing if you’re going to be outside. Try to avoid insulating knits like polyester, nylon or wool. Linen, cotton, jersey and seersucker are breathable, lightweight alternatives that will help keep you cool.

You should also drink extra fluids. If you’re going to be active, try to increase your water intake significantly. If you’re spending time outside, it’s important to consume water every hour.

Summer Illness #3: Food Poisoning

Food-borne illnesses increase during the summer months for two main reasons.

First, bacteria (including food-borne bacteria) thrive in warm, moist temperatures–like the hot, humid summers in Tennessee.

Secondly, we are more likely to cook outside during the summer, where temperature-controlled refrigeration and cleaning tools are less common. Cooking outside also makes it harder for us to wash our hands–a vital part of cutting down on germs. This allows bacteria to proliferate more easily and make its way into our food.  

To cut down on the likelihood of food poisoning, it’s important to wash your hands and clean cooking surfaces often during food prep. Separate meats and fish from other foods, and never mix raw foods or their juices with cooked foods.

Summer Illness #4: Sunburn

Have you ever spent a day outdoors in the middle of July? Did you find that the skin on your shoulders, scalp, and knees was red, sensitive and hot to the touch afterwards? Then you’re probably familiar with the unique misery of a sunburn.

Earth is closest to the sun during summertime, making the sun’s rays hotter and more likely to burn you. This is especially true between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

Individuals with pale, freckled skin are more likely to experience serious burns than individuals with darker skin. However, all individuals should be careful to regularly apply SPF, wear hats and sunglasses outdoors and try to minimize sun exposure during the hottest part of the day.

Most sunburns improve on their own after a few days. You should seek medical attention for sunburns that are accompanied by extensive blistering, headaches and fever or intense pain.

Have more questions about common health issues? Check our blog regularly for updates.

Our four Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care locations are open seven days a week to care for you should you experience any summertime illness!

West Nashville –  On Charlotte Pike, in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center

Brentwood –  Off Old Hickory Blvd, near Firebirds and the Well Coffee Shop

Berry Farms – Located off the Goose Creek Bypass in the Berry Farms Town Center, just down from Publix.

Franklin – On the corner of Route 96 & Carothers Parkway in front of Williamson County Medical Center.

 

How to Beat the Summer Heat While Living With Respiratory Issues

Posted by on July 13, 2017

How to Beat the Summer Heat While Living With Respiratory Issues - Physicians Urgent Care

Summer can be the best time of the year – it usually means time off work, warm weather and fun vacations! But it can also be a dangerous time if you have to deal with respiratory issues. Problems like asthma, COPD or other breathing ailments can be exacerbated by the summer heat and humidity. Here are some tips for helping you deal with these problems during the summer.

Avoid Heat Exhaustion

The heat can be a danger for anyone, but if you have respiratory problems you need to take extra caution to avoid heat exhaustion. If you start to feel weak, have a headache or feel nauseous, make sure to tell someone. You should try to get to a cool place and let yourself rest without any physical exertion.

Avoid High Altitudes

Higher altitudes mean thinner air, which makes it hard for people with respiratory issues to get the oxygen they need. If you’re planning a summer vacation, try to avoid places with high altitudes. If you do have a mile-high destination in your plans, be sure to take extra precautions to protect yourself from getting short of breath.

Drink Lots of Water

Sip water throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty. Thirst occurs after you’re already dehydrated and if you have a respiratory issue you need more water than others to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to extra mucus in your lungs, which can make breathing even harder.

Clean Your Air Conditioner

Indoor air quality is also a factor during the summer months when your air conditioner is turned on full blast. Make sure you clean the filter on your air conditioner regularly – at least twice a year. This will remove bacteria, mold and dust so that you can improve the quality of inside air and reduce the instance of breathing problems.

Stay on Top of Your Meds

If you take medication for respiratory issues, make sure you are never without it in the summer. It’s more important than ever to take your medications regularly in order to avoid further issues. If you have an inhaler, be sure to keep it on you at all times and make sure to have a spare in case it’s running low.

If you are suffering from respiratory issues, don’t hesitate to call or visit Physician’s Urgent Care. We can help you with any medical problems or emergencies.