Recently in the news, CNN reported on a story about a child who was found dead and his mother unconscious at a hotel in Boone, North Carolina. Six weeks prior, an elderly couple was found dead at the same hotel in April. The investigation is ongoing, but the cause is thought to be a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. (Read the story, CBS affiliate WBTV reports:N.C. Hotel Deaths Update: Carbon monoxide found in room where 3 died over 2 months, officials say)
What is Carbon Monoxide or CO?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas, that is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas.
The Causes and Sources
The most common sources of carbon monoxide are from our cars, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, portable generators, and other equipment that have internal combustion engines, which produce carbon monoxide. Home fireplaces, natural gas pipes and outdoor gas and wood grills also produce carbon monoxide in or near your home.
Warning Signs and Symptoms
Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to our senses. The severity and the duration of exposure along with the individual’s unique health condition affect the onset of health symptoms.
The initial symptoms (low carbon monoxide poising) include:
- Shortness of breath
Deadly, high level poisoning from carbon monoxide results in:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death
Carbon Monoxide Prevention
How do you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? Awareness and caution are key. Familiarize yourself with common household products and equipment and take time to learn their equipment’s power source (i.e. an internal combustion engine) and follow the manuals for use and care for that device. When in doubt and unsure of the presence of carbon monoxide, immediately ventilate the area and leave that area. Air quality and testing may be necessary for areas that have limited or no access to ventilation and fresh air.
How to Seek First Aid and Treatment
If you find a person suffering from the symptoms of carbon monoxide or the person is already unconscious perform the following immediately:
- Call 911
- Immediately move the person away from the carbon monoxide area and to an area with fresh air
- CPR – check for breathing and if not perform CPR
- Assist the emergency medical services as appropriate when they arrive and notify them of the exact carbon monoxide area
- The hospital will determine the exposure level and if mild, administer oxygen. If the carbon monoxide poisoning is severe, high doses of oxygen therapy may be needed.
Frequency of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to the CDC, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning graphic provided by the CDC.
With summer and the dog day months approaching in Arizona, it is important for people to be aware of warning signs for heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, heat cramps and heat rash. Some of these illnesses can be fatal, if not treated properly and early enough.
According to weather.com, the hottest month of the year in Arizona is July, with the average high temperature in Phoenix being 102 degrees (F) and the average low being 76 degrees (F,) while in Tucson, the average high temperature in July is set at 99 degrees (F), with the average low also at 76 degrees (F). The hotter the temperature, the more susceptible people are to develop heat-related illnesses.
Not only is it critical to know the symptoms, but just as critical to prevent those symptoms from happening in the first place. For more information on how to avoid any heat-related illness, and have a fun and pain-free summer, Download this Flier on Summer Health in the Heat Tips! Click HERE
Summer months bring longer days and shorter nights, which means more sun exposure. Heat exhaustion and heat-related illness can occur in kids and adults of all ages, especially when the heat from the sun is coupled with the high humidity that is prominent in southern states, such as North Carolina.
Heat exhaustion occurs when one is exposed to the sun and its heat for an extended period of time. There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion and salt depletion. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Muscle cramps
- Pale skin
- Dark-colored urine
Although it can affect people of all ages, babies and the elderly are more prone to heat exhaustion. There are, however, simple steps that you can take to prevent heat exhaustion:
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
- Apply sunscreen often (especially to the head, arms and shoulders)
- Seek shade and cooler, less humid environments
- Drink lots of fluids, especially water
- Take caution when taking certain medicine, which could increase your chances at heat illness
- Hydrate and replace sodium losses with a sports drink or other source of salt
What is heat stroke? — Heat stroke is a condition that can happen when people’s bodies get too hot. Most often, heat stroke happens when people exercise in very hot and humid weather without drinking enough fluids. But heat stroke can also happen in people who are not exercising.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency that needs to be treated quickly. That’s because heat stroke can lead to death if it is not treated quickly.
When people get too hot, they can also get “heat cramps” and “heat exhaustion.” These conditions are not as serious as heat stroke, but they can lead to heat stroke if they aren’t treated.
What are the symptoms of heat stroke? — People with heat stroke have:
- A body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher
- Brain symptoms – These can include:
- Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t real (called “hallucinating”)
- Trouble walking
- Passing out
- Heat stroke can also cause:
- Fast breathing or a fast heartbeat
- Skin redness and warmth
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Muscle cramps or weakness
Should I see a healthcare provider? — Yes. If you or someone you are with has heat stroke, get medical help right away. In the US, you should call 9-1-1 for an ambulance.
Share what you know! – Download this Flier on Summer Health in the Heat Tips! Click HERE. We have a flier for each of our North Carolina communities.
Summertime is the perfect time to host barbeques or watch kids play their favorite outdoor activities. FastMed Urgent Care encourages you and your family to have fun, but stay safe this summer!
It’s that time of year again. Spring is back and allergy season is ready for its yearly return.
Warmer temperatures are starting to creep in even earlier than usual and all kinds of pollen are in the air. From sneezing and sniffling, all the way to itchy and watery eyes, it’s critical for everyone with allergies to anticipate and prevent any kind of spring allergy outbreak they may come across over these next few months.
With so much in the air this time of season, it can be difficult to really put a finger on what specifically triggers spring allergens for people. The best way to find out is to get an allergy test done. The allergy skin test is the quickest and most efficient test for this. A doctor pricks the skin and inserts some kind of allergen such as grass to the outer layer. After about 15 minutes or so, the doctor will look for some kind of reaction, such as swelling or redness to the skin, which will determine the precise allergen causing the reaction. At this point, your allergist may prescribe to administer immunotherapy (allergy shots) to prevent a reaction to the allergen. Allergy tests are readily available at all Fastmed Urgent Care locations.
Once that is determined, it is vital for you to manage your allergies and prevent any outbreaks from happening. Always keep yourself in the loop on the allergen levels in the air. If allergen levels are high, close your windows. If you just spent some time outside, take a shower. While being outdoors, you are covered in allergens. Those allergens will spread all over your house and onto your furniture and bed if you do not shower. Pollen sticks to fabric, making it very easy to transfer those allergens from your clothes, to any other kind of fabric in your house. In addition, being treated with over-the-counter medication or tool to help with allergies can be very beneficial. Many over the counter nasal sprays are very effective, but can also be addictive for some people. Check the label for a warning and/or consult your physician before using any kind of nose spray. There are several effective prescription nasal sprays and oral medications that are safe to use on a daily basis during the time of the year that your allergies are the worst. Again, it is best to consult a physician for the proper management of your allergies.
If you have never been allergic to anything, but start showing symptoms of allergies, visit an urgent care clinic. A medical professional can identify if you do in fact have some type of allergic reaction to something in the air. Identifying it early could be the best thing you could do.
Brian Cafaro, MD
FastMed Urgent Care
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that kids who suffer from asthma should not decrease the intensity in which they play sports. According to the article, kids with controlled asthma tend to not play as hard as kids without asthma, in fear they may provoke an asthma attack. The article explains the benefits of asthmatic kids maintaining an active lifestyle, including:
- An increase in number of symptom free days
- A decrease in the severity of asthma
- A decrease in the risk of childhood obesity
- An improvement in the child’s social skills
If you or family members are experiencing asthma-like symptoms, go to your nearest FastMed Urgent Care to seek treatment and diagnoses.
Did you know that FastMed Urgent Care at Holly Springs offers family practice in addition to urgent care? On Saturday, May 20, FastMed Urgent Care in Holly Springs, NC will host a free community event from 11am to 3pm to promote its family practice.
The event will feature free food, face painting, balloon twisting, cornhole boards, give-a-ways and more. Staff will also be on site to offer free blood pressure checks and tours. Guests will also be able to register family practice during this time.
“We are excited to welcome new patients interested in establishing family practice to the Holly Springs location. We offer convenient, extended hours during the week, as well as weekend hours to accommodate individuals with busy schedules. We offer a warm and welcoming environment, and a great team. I look forward to working with you,” says Jessica Sabrowky, FNP at FastMed Urgent Care at Holly Springs.
FastMed accepts most insurance policies, including Carolina Access. We look forward to seeing everyone for our family-friendly community event!
FastMed of Holly Springs is located at 104 Bass Lake Rd., Holly Springs, NC 27540.
For a limited time, FastMed Urgent Care is offering discounted sports physicals at select locations in North Carolina. The sports physicals are good for one year and can be used for school athletics, summer camps/clinics and more. The sports physicals are available for kids and adults of all ages.
The following locations are offering sports physicals for $10:
- Chapel Hill
- Charlotte at Wilkinson Blvd.
- Raleigh at Millbrook Rd.
- Winston-Salem at Stratford Rd.
The following locations are offering sports physicals for $15:
- Hope Mills (Fayetteville)
FastMed Urgent Care in High Point, NC is offering free sports physicals until May 20, 2013.
Vouchers for the discounted sports physicals can be found online by clicking here and selecting the location nearest to you! FastMed staff can also print vouchers in-clinic for patients.
Throughout North Carolina, FastMed Urgent Care clinics have seen more than a 10% increase in North Carolinians seeking treatment for allergy-related symptoms since the beginning of 2013 and that number is increasing. In Arizona FastMed Urgent Care clinics have seen more than a 96% increase in Arizona patients seeking treatment for allergy-related symptoms over the prior three months during one of the worst allergy seasons on record.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is a condition where your body’s defense overreacts to a substance that is normally harmless. These substances are called allergens or triggers (since the “trigger” is a response from your body). When exposed to an allergen, your body thinks it has to defend itself, and begins a process to do so. This process includes releasing a chemical called “histamine”. Histamine is important because it in turn causes the following common symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy nose or throat.
How do I get relief?
Visit the following resources that will help you cope with the challenges of the spring and summer allergy seasons in Arizona and North Carolina:
- How to Handle Spring Allergy Season from FastMed Urgent Care
- FASTMED URGENT CARE SEES THE NUMBER OF ALLERGY SUFFERERS SEEKING RELIEF DOUBLE IN ARIZONA
- FASTMED URGENT CARE SEES DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASE IN ALLERGY SUFFERERS SEEKING RELIEF
FastMed Urgent Care centers are open 365 days a year and have over 52 convenient locations for treatment to help address your allergy symptoms.
Visit our FastMed Urgent Care Location Finder to find your nearest FastMed location anytime your allergies are getting the best of you!
FastMed’s Durham clinic location celebrates its 1 year anniversary on Sunday, May 5. Located at 7010 Hope Valley Rd in Durham, this location is convenient to both Durham and Chapel Hill residents.
FastMed is proud to be a part of the Durham community and supports organizations such as the local Boys & Girls Club. For an after school activity, the John Avery Boys & Girls Club traveled to FastMed of Durham to tour the facility and ask our Practice Manager and provider, Bruce Bair, questions about the clinic and other general medical questions. Bruce led the tour and told the kids stories of his days serving the U.S. military and working in hectic emergency rooms. He explained to the kids how the x-ray machine works and he even let them give each other ear exams!
"It was a pleasure to work in this clinic this past year. Our patients make it easy. They are always thanking us for our convenient location and having open hours 7 days a week," says Bruce Bair, Practice Manager and provider at FastMed Urgent Care in Durham. FastMed is proud to be a part of the Durham community and we look forward to creating more memories in the years to come!
FastMed Urgent Care is a proud sponsor of the 2013 Spring Carnival at Penny Road Elementary School in Cary, NC. The carnival featured horse rides, inflatable fun houses, a silent raffle, a cake walk and other fun events for the kids to enjoy.
FastMed had the honor of providing the ever-popular face-painting and balloon-twisting station. Kids received balloons in the shape of teddy bears, cats, poodles and more. The kid’s faces were painted in the most eclectic designs that both kids and parents enjoyed.
Towards the end of the event, FastMed was awarded with a Platinum Sponsor plaque for being a continued supporter of the school. FastMed is proud to be a part of and serve the Cary community!!!