Healthy Spring: Know Where to Go, Tips for Healthy Feet and Springtime Safety for Kids
In this Fox 8 House Call series, Cone Health experts offer tips for a health Spring, including:
Healthy Spring: Know Where to Go
When unexpected illnesses or injuries occur, it is sometimes difficult deciding whether the condition needs treatment at an emergency department or urgent care facility. Urgent care facilities are very useful for people who have an illness, injury or other health care concern and are unable to get an appointment with their primary care physician. Urgent care facilities have many of the capacities and abilities of an emergency department, yet on an outpatient care basis. Urgent care health care providers often treat:
- Sprained joints.
- Wounds that need suturing.
- Flu, fever, sore throats and common colds.
In short, if you are experiencing a non-life-threatening illness or injury, and do not suspect the need to be admitted to a hospital, it is best to seek treatment at an urgent care facility. If your condition is assessed and determined by an urgent care health care provider to need emergency medical attention, they will make sure you get the proper treatment.
If an individual is experiencing a life-threatening situation, it is best to call 911 immediately and be seen by an emergency room provider. Symptoms and situations include:
- Heart attack.
- Trouble breathing, chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Traumatic injury, such as a severe fall, vehicle accident or extremely deep laceration.
- Sudden facial drooping or weakness in arm or leg, or seizures.
- Broken bones.
- Thoughts of harming yourself or someone else.
If you feel like you can’t wait to see your primary care provider and need an ambulance, it’s best to go to the emergency room.
If you can’t make it to urgent care or your provider’s office, Cone Health offers e-visits and video visits through Cone Health Connected Care. Online visits with a medical professional are a convenient way to take care of minor conditions (sinus issues, coughs, flu-like symptoms, back pain, etc.). Your virtual care provider can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication as needed. These are available 24/7, 365 days a year from your phone, tablet or computer.
Another alternative to urgent and primary care is InstaCare. It uses an affordable, transparent fee structure that varies by the type of visit you need – so there are no surprises, co-pays or deductibles. Pricing ranges from $29 to $89 and all major credit cards, flexible spending account cards and health savings account cards are accepted, as well as cash. The current wait time is listed on their website and is visible in the office, and walk-ins are welcome.
If you can go to an urgent care location, you’ll save both time and money. The average wait time in the emergency room is between 2 and 8 hours; at urgent care, you should be in and out in about an hour. Costs may vary based on your insurance coverage. The average cost of a visit to the ER is about $500; urgent care is between $90 and $150.
Jason Upham, MSN, RN, CEN, is the department director of the Moses Cone Hospital Emergency Department. He received his associate degree in registered nursing from Coastal Carolina Community College, his bachelor’s degree in registered nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his master’s degree in registered nursing from American Sentinel University.
Healthy Spring: Tips for Healthy Spring Feet
April is foot health awareness month, and there are several things you can do to keep your feet healthy and happy! First, ensure you have proper footwear. Wear sneakers if you can, and make sure they have arch support if you have a flat foot. Choose shoes with a stiff sole (nothing too flexible).
Many people wear the wrong size shoe, which can cause permanent foot damage. To find your correct shoe size, get sized during the afternoon when your feet are the largest.
For women, a 2-inch heel or wedge is better than wearing flats, especially if you have plantar fasciitis. Most flip-flops are also bad for your feet (both men and women), as they provide little support.
Check your feet each day, especially if you’re diabetic. Those with the disease can develop calluses that predispose them to sores. Additionally, some diabetics don’t have a lot of feeling in their feet, so they can see problems but not feel them.
During the spring and summer months, check your feet for athlete’s foot. To prevent it, don’t walk around the pool or gym without shoes.
It’s important to keep your feet moisturized both in the morning and at night. Use lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not in between toes, as they stay naturally moisturized. Use a good lotion, as Vaseline and cocoa butter do not penetrate the skin well.
Many people enjoy getting pedicures at the salon now that the weather is warmer. Nail fungus and infections pose risks. To ensure you protect yourself:
- Invest in your own instruments and bring them with you.
- If you choose to let the nail tech use the salon’s instruments, make sure they are sterilized.
- Use a foot file or pumice stone instead of a microplane foot file (the one that looks like a cheese grater).
- Do not push cuticles back, as this increases your risk of infection.
Diabetics should check with their podiatrist before getting a pedicure. At the very least, they should mention that they have diabetes to the nail tech before he or she begins the pedicure.
Michael Price, DPM, is a podiatrist at Triad Foot and Ankle Center in Greensboro and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. He earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University and completed his residency at University of Florida Health – Jacksonville.
Healthy Spring: Springtime Safety for Kids
Now that spring is in full swing, it’s a great time for children to spend time outside playing. More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.
Make sure that your kids ride a bike that’s appropriate for their size and wear a helmet that fits them. Little ones grow quickly, and will often outgrow their bike and/or helmet. Ensure your child knows how to put on their helmet correctly. The rim should be 1 to 2 finger-widths above the eyebrows, and straps should be flat against the chin.
When skating or skate boarding, make sure your kids wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards.
When your kids are on the playground, actively supervise them. This means staying off your cellphone, especially since accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. Take a look around and take note that it’s safe and free of rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. Report problems to the owner of the park (city, church, etc.).
Keep small and large children on appropriate parts of the playground for their size. Kids 5 and under should stay on the side of the playground for smaller children so they don’t get shoved or trampled.
Unfortunately, children die each year from heatstroke because they were left in the car. Never leave a child alone in the car, even for a minute. Cars can heat up within 20 minutes, and leaving a window cracked isn’t enough to keep the interior cool. A child’s body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult, which is why we need to act swiftly. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
A child is usually left in the car because of a change in routine. To make sure this doesn’t happen, create reminders. Leave your cellphone, purse or briefcase in the backseat. Make a plan with your spouse or partner to call or text when you reach your destination safely.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of pediatricians and other health care providers to make sure children stay safe in the spring and year-round.
Leigha Jordan, MS, is the injury prevention coordinator for the trauma department at Cone Health. She also manages the activities of Safe Guilford, the injury prevention coalition for Guilford County, and provides outreach and education on child passenger, bike and pedestrian safety and fall prevention for older adults. Jordan received a Master of Science in health promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001.