Make time for a Sports Physical this August

sports physical - a soccer cleat on turf
The start of the school year is just around the corner! And if you’re the parent of a student athlete, you’ll want to ensure that your child is physically and mentally ready to get in the game come fall. Head into our clinic now for a fast, affordable sports physical!

Most athletic leagues and schools require sports physicals –also known as preparticipation physical examinations (PPE)–, and it’s clear to see why. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children under 15 get hurt playing sports or participating in recreational activities every year. Sports physicals can help athletes discover and manage health problems that may interfere with their performance, as well as reduce their overall risk of injury. Don’t skip this important annual check-up on developmental health.

During a sports physical exam, a medical provider will:

  • Record height and weight
  • Take a blood pressure and pulse
  • Test vision
  • Check the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
  • Evaluate posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

The provider will review the athlete’s medical history and offer helpful tips on concussion and injury prevention. The exam also provides an opportunity to discuss the effects of using drugs, alcohol, and supplements.

To prepare for the exam, make sure to bring any required participation forms for the provider to sign. If your child wears glasses or contacts, you’ll want to bring those too.

In some cases, your child may need a follow-up exam, additional tests, or further treatment before the provider can sign off on participation. Allow time for this possibility, and hurry in for your child’s sports physical!

Water Safety Rules Every Parent Should Know

water safety rules for parents - a dad holds his baby in the poolOn hot summer days, many of us head to local swimming spots to cool off and have fun with our families. However, a trip to the pool can quickly turn tragic if the proper precautions aren’t taken. According to the CDC, “drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.” Fortunately, parents can take practical steps to reduce this risk and keep kids safe.

Follow these key water safety rules to protect your children from drowning and water-related injuries.

Keep a close watch.

Never take your eyes off your child when he or she is in the water. Most children do not–or cannot–yell for help in drowning situations, so it’s imperative to actively supervise. Keep phones stowed away and minimize other distractions. In the time it takes to check a text message, your child can be submerged.

Use life jackets.

Life jackets are the best protection against drowning. Young children and weak swimmers should always wear a properly-fitted, Coast Guard-approved life jacket when near the water. Life jackets should fit snugly and be in good condition, as rips and tears can reduce effectiveness.

Learn how to choose the right life jacket (US Coast Guard Boating Safety Division).

Know CPR.

Make sure you have this life-saving skill to handle an emergency. If your child’s breathing or heart has stopped due to drowning, CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until medical help arrives. Read up on the basics of CPR from the Mayo Clinic and consider signing up for a class through the American Heart Association or American Red Cross.

Raise strong swimmers.

Sign your kids up for swimming lessons to ensure they know basic water safety and swim techniques. For most children, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends beginning lessons at age 4. However, it’s important not to become overconfident in a child’s ability. Swimming skills are just one level of protection against drowning. Toddlers and young children still require active supervision.

The Dos and Don’ts of Fireworks Safety

fireworks safety

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to let the pros do it. But if you can’t imagine July 4th without lighting a few fireworks at home, here are are the Dos and Don’ts of fireworks safety:

DO:

  • Point the fireworks away from people, places, and things.
  • Keep water nearby in case anything happens, and to extinguish spent fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses.
  • Light one firework at a time.
  • Use fireworks in wide, clear areas, and on dirt or cement if possible
  • Keep a first aid kit on hand. Saline, wraps, aloe vera, blunt scissors and a blanket will all be useful in case of an emergency.
  • DON’T:

  • Point fireworks at a person, even as a joke.
  • Relight a firework that didn’t go off.
  • Consume alcohol while handling or lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks in dry grass.
  • We hope these fireworks safety tips help you have a fun and safe 4th of July!

    If an accident does occur, head into our clinic. Our medical team is equipped to treat minor burns and injuries from fireworks and can get you the care you need.

    Ultimate Summer Safety Guide

    summer safety guide - man grilling hot dogs

    Make summer safety a priority.

    Summer should be a time of lighthearted amusement, and not unnecessary trips to the doctor! Learn these key summer safety tips to prevent injuries while enjoying all of your favorite seasonal activities. We walk you through the basics of safe grilling, swimming and fireworks.

    Safe Grilling and BBQs

    Each year, thousands of people seek medical care for injuries involving backyard grills. Reduce the risk of fires and thermal burns with these rules:

    • Never use a grill indoors.
    • Place your grill away from the home, deck railings and out from under overhanging branches and/or decorations.
    • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
    • Clean your grill regularly. Fat and grease buildup add fuel to the fire and can cause flare ups.
    • Never leave your grill unattended.
    • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

    Smart Swimming

    Ready to hit the pool? You’ll want to memorize these water safety tips beforehand. According to the CDC, about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day. Water-related injuries and deaths are highly preventable. Make sure to follow these basic rules for safe swimming and water fun:

    • Make sure your children and family members are strong swimmers. Enroll in age-appropriate swimming lessons.
    • Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present.
    • Don’t let anyone swim alone. Use the buddy system.
    • Always supervise children near water. Accidents happen quickly so active supervision is key. Avoid distractions and maintain awareness at all times.
    • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a life jacket.
    • Avoid alcohol use.

    Learn more about water safety from the Red Cross.

    Fireworks Safety

    Our best advice for fireworks safety? Leave them to the professionals!

    If you do choose to use fireworks, the National Safety Council provides the following safety guidelines:

    • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
    • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
    • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
    • Never light them indoors
    • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
    • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
    • Never ignite devices in a container
    • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
    • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
    • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire

    How to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer

    May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and a great time to learn about strategies to detect and prevent skin cancer.

    Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 1 in 5 Americans developing it in their lifetime. Fortunately, when diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer can almost always be cured.

    Skin Cancer Basics

    Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It can affect people of all colors and races, but is more likely to occur in those with fair skin. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Both cancers are highly curable, though if left untreated, can cause serious damage and disfigurement. Melanoma is the third most common—and deadliest—skin cancer. Melanoma generally develops in a mole or appears as a new dark spot on the skin.

    The majority of skin cancers develop due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is a type of radiation produced by the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. It is invisible to the human eye, but can penetrate and damage skin cells. Minimizing exposure to harmful UV rays is key in skin cancer prevention.

    Reduce Your Risk

    Stay out of the sun as much as possible.

    The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm, so seek shade during these hours or protect your skin with clothing. Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, sunglasses and a wide brim hat. Be especially aware if you’re near water, sand, or snow. These surfaces can reflect and intensify the damaging effects of the sun.

    Always wear sunscreen.

    It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like. If you’re spending time outdoors, it’s important to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.

    Check your skin regularly for changes.

    Check out this infographic from the American Academy of Dermatology for how to spot signs of skin cancer. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

    detect and prevent skin cancer

    Help End Distracted Driving

    distracted driving awareness - man holding cell phone while driving

    April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.” This April, let’s educate ourselves on the hazards of distracted driving and learn how to make the roads safer for everyone.

    Driving safely requires your full attention and awareness of the road. Sending a quick text might seem harmless, but accidents happen in a split second. Texting, talking on the phone, talking to passengers, or changing the music are all distractions that take your attention away from the task at hand. Engaging in these behaviors while driving leads to delayed braking times, missed traffic signals and an increased risk of crashing. When you’re in the driver’s seat, it’s critical not to get sidetracked by these extraneous activities.

    Commit to being an attentive driver.

    In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Safety Council is urging us all to take the Just Drive pledge:

    I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

    • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
    • Text or send Snapchats
    • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
    • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media
    • Check or send emails
    • Take selfies or film videos
    • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
    • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

    Visit the NSC site to officially take the pledge »

    Taking the pledge is a great first step in tackling the issue of distracted driving, but how else can we initiate change? Choose to be a voice in your community. Support local laws and educate those around you on the dangers of driving distracted. If you’re a parent, make sure your teen driver understands the importance of being an attentive driver and encourage them to spread the word amongst their peers. We all have a role to play in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.

    March is National Nutrition Month! Put your best fork forward.

    nutrition month dinner plate
    Many of us start the year with resolutions to eat better and exercise more. But during the long winter months of January and February, it’s easy to let those goals slip. Maybe it’s a hibernation instinct or simply a lack of Vitamin D, but the short days and cold weather lead us straight to Netflix and comfort foods. Luckily, March is here! Let’s welcome the first signs of spring with a commitment to healthier food and exercise choices.

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month in March each year. For 2017, their theme is “put your best fork forward”, reminding us that every bite counts. Eating better doesn’t have to mean a complete dietary overhaul; it’s ok to start small. Consider trading that soda for a sparkling water. Switch from refined flours to whole grains. Little shifts in your diet can pay off big for your health.

    March into health with these simple nutrition tips:

    1. Emphasize Fruits & Veggies.

      Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Fresh produce is full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber and it’s easy to incorporate into your diet.

    2. Keep portions under control.

      How much food you eat is just as important as what you eat. Consider your age and weight to determine a healthy amount of daily calories to aim for. Be mindful of your portion sizes and keep track of just how many calories you’re consuming. Many foods provide more than you think!

    3. Limit salt and added sugars.

      According to the CDC, about 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet! To cut back on salt, choose fresh foods, cook at home more often and minimize processed foods like cheese, cured meats and canned soups.

      Added sugars are another huge contributor to our country’s obesity epidemic. Added sugars increase calories without providing any nutritional value! By reducing the amount of added sugars in your diet, you can improve your heart health and control your weight. The American Heart Association lists major sources of added sugars in American diets as: regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks; dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles). Be aware of this and try to cut back on the sweets, eat fruit instead or make your own homemade version with less sugar.

    We hope these tips help you lead a more nutritious lifestyle! Continue educating yourself on what makes a healthy diet and encourage those around you to do so as well.

    Healthy Eating Resources

    Make Heart Health a Priority

    heart health

    February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time to make your heart health a priority.

    Did you know that heart disease accounts for a whopping 1 in 4 deaths in the United States? It’s currently the leading cause of death for both men and women. As a country, we must start taking heart health seriously.

    No matter what your age, you can reduce your risk of heart disease through simple lifestyle changes and by managing existing medical conditions with appropriate treatment. For a healthy heart, follow the advice below:

    Quit Smoking! (Or, if you don’t smoke, don’t start!)

    Smoking causes real damage to your heart and blood vessels. To reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you and can even help reverse heart damage. Need help quitting? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (1-800-784-8669) for free resources and assistance.

    Keep your blood pressure under control.

    Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease, an enlarged left heart and heart failure. It is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can occur with no signs or symptoms so it’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked annually. Follow these healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood pressure under control:

    • Limit the amount of salt and alcohol in your diet.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Manage stress.

    Depending on your overall health, your doctor may also recommend medication to lower blood pressure.

    Know the symptoms of a heart attack.

    According to the CDC, the five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

    1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
    2. Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
    3. Chest pain or discomfort
    4. Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
    5. Shortness of breath

    If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. The sooner emergency treatment begins, the higher your chances of survival.

    Donate Blood this January

    donate blood


    Our new year’s resolutions often look inward and focus on personal improvement. Lose weight. Exercise more. Get organized. But what if this year, we looked outward instead? How can we, as individuals, positively impact our communities in 2017?

    One simple way is to donate blood.

    Every January, the American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and this year, their mission is even more critical. Several cities across the country are facing emergency blood shortages. Complex therapies such as chemotherapy, heart surgeries and organ transplants require a large amount of blood and blood products. A shortage in our nation’s blood supply can delay urgent medical care for our community’s most vulnerable patients. Donating blood is a simple, life-saving act. It takes less than 1 hour and a single donation can help up to 3 people

    If you’re able to donate blood, now is the time to do so. Below, we’ve outlined the blood donor eligibility requirements, tips to prepare for your appointment and how to find a blood drive near you.

    Blood and Platelet Donors Must:

    • Be in good general health and feeling well*
    • Be at least 17-years-old in most states, or 16-years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law – see more information for 16-year-old donors »
    • Weigh at least 110 lbs

    Other aspects of your health history will be discussed prior to blood collection. Your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin are also measured beforehand. If you have specific questions about eligibility, the Red Cross offers in-depth information on donor Eligibility Criteria by Topic.

    Tips to prepare for your appointment:

    • Eat a healthy, low-fat meal
    • Get a good night’s sleep
    • Stay hydrated
    • Bring your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification
    • Bring the names of any medications you are taking
    • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be lifted above the elbow

    Click here to find a blood drive near you »

    Drive Safely this Holiday Season

    impaired-driving-prevention

    December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

    During the holiday season, incidents of drunk and drugged driving occur more frequently and pose a threat to everyone on the road. To keep our streets safe this December, let’s educate ourselves on impaired driving prevention and hold ourselves — and those around us — accountable. Below, we’ve outlined basic tips and knowledge to help you avoid preventable tragedies.

    1. Understand the many ways in which alcohol affects driving ability.

      Consuming alcohol reduces a driver’s capacity to make sound and responsible decisions. It makes concentration difficult and impairs basic comprehension and coordination. On the road, a driver needs to quickly interpret signs, signals and situations in order to react safely. Under the influence of alcohol, this is simply not possible. In addition, alcohol reduces visual acuity and impairs the ability to judge distance and depth perception. Learn more about the effects of alcohol intoxication on driving from the CDC.

    2. Plan ahead.

      If you plan on drinking, also plan for a sober ride home. Designate a non-drinking driver when with a group, or consider calling a cab or ride-sharing app at the end of the night. It’s dangerous and irresponsible to get behind the wheel.

    3. Help others get home safely.

      Don’t let friends drive drunk. If you’re faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired tries to drive, MAAD offers these helpful tips to stop them:

      • Be as non-confrontational as possible
      • Suggest alternative ways they can get home, or that they sleep over
      • Enlist a friend for moral support; it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people
      • Talk slowly and explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care
      • If possible, take the person’s keys