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How to Prevent Sunburns At the Beach and Elsewhere!

Summer is in full swing which usually follows a beach trip or a similar outing, in order to enjoy the nice weather. However, it is always important to practice good sun safety and sunburn prevention whenever you’re outside.

Even though most people associate sunburns with a trip at the beach, individuals need to be aware that sunburns happen during other types of outings. These include camping and hiking as well as any activity where you are outside for prolonged periods of time.

When your skin becomes overexposed to the sun you are likely to experience skin damage and sunburns from UV rays. UV rays are radiation coming from the sun, which can also lead to melanoma in extreme cases of UV exposure. Other health risks from sun and heat exposure includes dehydration and heat rash to name a few.

Here are just a few simple but effective ways in which you can prevent sunburn and prevent UV ray damage:

Bring plenty of sunblock when you’re outside and reapply it frequently

Easily the most effective way to prevent sunburn is to apply sunscreen throughout the day. The most effective type of sunscreen or sunblock is SPF 30, which is the maximum amount that sunscreen can protect skin. Some sunscreens advertise with higher SPF count and also offer water-resistant and sweat-proof sunscreen options.

Regardless of the brand of sunscreen you choose you’ll want to actively reapply it throughout the day. A good benchmark to set is at least every hour or two hours to reapply sunscreen.

Water is also key to staying hydrated throughout the day and preventing potential fatigue

When individuals don’t drink enough water on a hot, sunny day then they could experience potential fatigue and even heat stroke. Whenever you’re outside for a prolonged period make sure to drink water as soon as you feel thirsty.

Bring a refillable water bottle on your person at all times to ensure that you can stay hydrated throughout the day. Even though some people will tell you to drink eight glasses of water throughout the day you only need to drink enough water to feel quenched.

Wear protective clothing whenever you are outside

During a camping trip, or a beach day, make sure to wear protective clothing in order to prevent a possible burn. The best options include a lightweight shirt, pants, and hat that can protect against UV rays. Additionally, protective clothing can also help prevent other hazards when outside such as insect bites in wooded areas.

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Camping Trip Health and Safety Guidelines

Summertime is also camping time for thousands of families, hikers, and outdoorspeople across the U.S. To make sure you are focusing more on enjoying the outdoors it helps to incorporate some basic health and safety skills during your camping trip.

When your outdoors you may likely experience a slew of personal safety risks including insect bites, UV rays, dehydration, and even limited medical access. But the good news for campers is that it is a fairly straightforward process for maintaining adequate health and safety during your trip. Based on similar camping safety skills collected by the CDC, here are just a few ideas to keep you safe and healthy throughout your camping trip!

Prepare for the outdoors with ample food and water

Regardless of where you are camping you’ll want to make sure that you have ample food and water on your person at all times. This is especially important in remote camping sites where access to food or water is limited or not close by.

A good rule of thumb is to have enough food and water for two or three days more than expected. Keep food properly refrigerated (in a temperature-controlled bag) and stored to prevent pests and other animals from finding it. An emergency supply of food and water is also a great way to prepare for a camping trip.

Protect from insects and the environment throughout your camping trip

Insect bites, dehydration, and sunburn are common medical ailments that largely impact unprepared campers or hikers. However, it is fairly easy to prevent insect bites and other environmental hazards with the following techniques:

  • Wear protective and lightweight clothing to prevent UV rays, tick bites, and other insect bites. If if is hot out find lighter-weight options if possible.
  • Apply sunscreen and insect repellent frequently during your trip. A good time to reapply either sunblock or bug spray is every two hours.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and keep a refillable water to safely store water throughout the day.
  • Seek shade and use protective netting to keep insects away from your campsite.

Stay prepared with first-aid and similar medical precautions

During outdoor activity you may experience a sudden injury such as a bruise, cut, or scrape while hiking or camping outdoors. To avoid further injury make sure to bring a first aid kit and brush up on some basic first aid skills. If you need a refresher, then try finding a local course that provides free lessons.

Camping safety is an important part of any trip to ensure you get to enjoy Mother Nature without interruption!

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Prepare Your Kids For School Sports Season

More and more parents have enlisted their kids in school sports nowadays. Besides the obvious health benefits, sports teach the players teamwork, communication, and disciplines which will groom them into well-rounded individuals. In order for young athletes to fully enjoy the experience, there are some easy things parents could do. Here are a few of them:

Let the kids prepare their own breakfast

By waking up 15 minutes earlier every day, kids can have enough time to get ready for school and make themselves breakfast. This will tremendously help develop their own discipline, which is critical to any sports team. A team can only be as strong as the players who make it up. It’s not that difficult, and you should encourage your kids to adopt this habit as soon as possible before the school year begins.

Act as a role model

Like father, like son. Your kids most likely adopt your habits and behaviors which include both good and bad ones. If you exhibit a healthy and active lifestyle, that will greatly benefit your young ones. Instead of eating junk/fast food regularly, cook up proper meals. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV all day, sign up for the gym or go for a run few times a week. Your health, and your kids, of course, will be grateful for that!

Sports physicals

A sports physicals is a series of test to determine any underlying risk of illness or injury before young athletes sign up for sports at school. Almost every school requires this examination from students before accepting them into sports programs. It doesn’t take much of your time and effort and could prevent your kids from getting serious injuries in future.

If your student athlete is joining a sports team this upcoming season, visit FirstCall Urgent Care for a sports physicals.  We also treat common sports injuries such as:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • & More

Stop by our urgent care center, or call us at 410-730-3399 for more information.

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Evidence-Based Nutrition Tips to Improve Overall Health

If you’ve ever tried to look up some nutrition info online or asked a friend for advice, you’ve likely heard some conflicting statements. Many of the nutrition tips we’re told are actually opinions rather than evidence-based facts. Today we’re going to share some of our favorite nutrition tips that can actually be backed with solid evidence and science, not just one strong opinion.

Processed Foods are Bad

Many diet plans recommend sticking to whole foods and avoiding processed options, but it turns out that recommendation comes from real evidence. The processed foods we eat are loaded with unnecessary chemicals and sugars that trigger the pleasure center in the brain. That causes you to want to eat more processed junk and ultimately, your health pays the price.

Sleep is Key

Rather you want to improve your mental or physical health, sleep is the answer. Without enough quality sleep your body’s performance begins to go downhill. You’ll be less focused, more likely to eat unhealthy foods, and be at an increased risk for diabetes. Kick-start your new healthy sleeping habits by setting a “bedtime” for yourself each night and avoiding all electronics for one hour prior to that time.

Drink Water Before a Meal

Did you know that drinking more water makes your body begin to burn more calories? In fact, if you drink 2 liters of water per day, your body will automatically be burning 96 extra calories! Enjoy some water 30 minutes prior to each meal time. This habit will help you to feel full faster and gradually lose weight.

Monitor Your Intake

Evidence shows that occasional monitoring of your food and beverage intake is very good for your overall health. Not only does monitoring allow you to know exactly how many calories you’re consuming, but what’s in those calories as well. Once you get in the habit of checking the nutrition label you’re more likely to make healthier choices, even if you aren’t counting calories. Pay attention to your protein, fat, and carb intake to see where you can improve your diet.

Surround Yourself with Positive Relationships

Negative personal relationships in your life could be having a negative impact on your health. Not only do positive personal relationships improve mental health, but physical health as well. Studies have shown that people with positive friends and family relationships take better care of themselves and have a higher life expectancy.

If you’ve heard other help tips that you’re skeptical of, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or do some research on your own! Evidence-based facts are widely agreed upon and supported by plenty of notable research. Just remember, not every health tip you’re told is actually true!

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What You Need to Know About Measles

The headlines can be pretty scary: Measles is now a public health crisis in many urban and rural communities across the US. Families everywhere need to know the current situation about measles nationwide and how they can protect their children from the disease.

During 2019, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that over 839 cases of measles have been reported as the number continues to climb across the country. New York City and Rockland County in NY are the most impacted communities and have reported the outbreaks of the disease. However, the disease continues to spread as 23 states reported at least one case of measles.

So what happened? How did measles spread so quickly and how can you make sure your family is safe from the disease?

How, and why, are Measles spreading so quickly in the US?

Major public health organizations including the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and state-level health departments explained that measles have spread for three major reasons:

  1. Lower rates of vaccinations nationally – Less and less parents are vaccinating their children in general. In 2000, measles was virtually eradicated because vaccination rates were at their highest in U.S history. Declining rates have allowed measles to steadily comeback into the public eye
  2. Anti-vaxxers and anti-vaccination messaging – The WHO recently declared anti-vaxxers and anti-vaccination messaging as one of the top 10 global health threats currently. The spread of misinformation about vaccines, the link between vaccines and autism, and other myths have contributed in part to lower vaccination rates.
  3. Spread of the disease through increased international travel – The growing number of international travelers has increased over the past couple of years, which has allowed measles to come in from other countries into the U.S.

For the most part, measles has spread because less people are choosing to vaccinate their children as the disease grows to spread more rapidly. The combination of all three factors mentioned above have led to the current outbreak.

How can you protect your family from measles? When you should get them vaccinated?

The best way to protect your young children from getting the measles is to get their MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine ASAP. Most doctors recommend getting an updated measles vaccine for your children twice in their life, based on general vaccination guidelines.

Children usually get their MMR vaccine between the ages of 12 to 15 months and a second shot between the ages of 4 to 6 years old. However, your medical provider may recommend the vaccination at specific ages for your children.

If you think your child needs an updated vaccination make sure to first review their vaccine history with a trusted medical professional. Parents that want to get their children vaccines ASAP should visit an urgent care center or local walk-in clinic for fast and affordable vaccines!

 

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What are the Benefits of Urgent Care for Patients?

Urgent care and local walk-in clinics are much more than a last resort for patients that can’t see their doctor. In fact, urgent care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can provide high-quality medical services for patients.

In addition, an urgent care center offers various other benefits and advantages outside of traditional medical facilities. But many patients may not know this off the top of their heads and instead opt to wait for their primary care provider or the emergency room for medical services.

So what should patients know about the benefits of urgent care?

Urgent Care is usually less expensive than other medical facilities

The great news about using urgent care is that patients will only pay a fraction of the cost of another type of medical provider.

On average, an urgent care center will provide services such as x-rays and sore throat treatment almost 80 percent less than an emergency room, per an analysis on healthcare spending from debt.org. A major benefit of using urgent care for sudden medical needs is that patients won’t have to worry about the significant cost of an ER for treatment.

Patients that may not be able to afford emergency room treatment should always consider urgent care as a viable option whenever they need it.

Urgent Care wait times are much shorter than the ER or your doctor’s office

Patients that want care at their doctor’s office will usually have to schedule an appointment to get treatment. With urgent care, you’ll only have to wait a few minutes in order to get your medical needs addressed.

Urgent care centers and their respective walk-in clinics allow patients to get treatment on the same day without the need for an appointment. Additionally, patients will only have to wait a few minutes to get seen, complete treatment, and pay for services.

Any patient that wants to visit an ER may seriously need to consider using urgent care because ER wait times can be extensive. Unless a patient is experiencing a full-blown medical emergency, the wait for an ER visit can be up to a couple of hours!

FirstCall Urgent Care provides a fast and affordable urgent care option for patients in Laurel, MD

So now that you can see the benefits of urgent care you’ll need to find a local walk-in clinic that can address your immediate healthcare needs. Any patient located in Laurel, MD should try FirstCall Urgent Care to get a variety of healthcare services.

Call us at 410-730-3399 for more information or visit us directly at 10981 Johns Hopkins Road for a variety of medical services including:

  • STD testing
  • Injury treatment
  • X-rays
  • Flu shots
  • Lab testing
  • DOT physicals
  • School & Camp physicals
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Kids

Keeping Kids Safe in Sports: Protective Eyewear for All

Even though sports have been played by youth for centuries, there are still a lot of improvements that need to happen. Things have started to transition to a more conscious effort to keep children safe. Contact sports like hockey and football are prominent areas that could use improvement. Unfortunately, change is slow: it always has been and always will be. That’s why so many have gotten involved in campaigns and organizations that promote youth sports safety measures. A favorite place of attention for improvements to safety standards is in use and requiring of protective eyewear.

The Facts Behind Protective Eyewear

There are a lot of different things people believe about eyewear for youth sports. Many believe things that are not true, and others do not know anything at all. That’s why these facts are essential for understanding the vital role protective goggles can play in a child’s life.

Protective Eyewear is Not Just for Vision Prescriptions
There are some who believe goggles in sports are simply utilized for those who are vision impaired. While some goggles are prescribed for vision issues, the push to include protective eyewear in children’s sports is a movement for safety. Eye injuries happen a lot more in sports that are involved in conversations about youth athletics. By utilizing protective eyewear, safety takes center stage and becomes the pinnacle of innovation and progress in sports. At every level, adults and children are trying to play a game, and if physical or mental health risks exist, it is essential to address them.

Continuing the Progress of Safety in Sports

In football, awareness and advocacy surrounding concussions and brain injuries have made the sport safer than ever. While some argue it changes the game, nothing is worth the pain and suffering of a chronic or lifelong injury. At the very least, children should be more protected as they do not have complete control over their choices. Parents must take a look at the risk that eye injury poses and continue to advocate for protective eyewear in youth sports. Not only do the goggles make children safer, but they make the point that safety should never halt to an arbitrary concern standing in its way.

The Bottom Line About Safety in Youth Sports

Adults and parents have an obligation to keep children safe. There is no reason to avoid protecting one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body, the eyes, from harm. There are a lot of steps to go into making sure children are given access to these goggles, but until then, sharing information and facts about protective eyewear in sports is crucial to the wellbeing of children all over the United States of America.

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Autism

Ways to Get Involved with Autism Awareness Month

 

Autism Awareness Month takes place every April, and a lot of people like to get involved. It’s no surprise so many want to see Autism take a more central stage position in the social conversation. 1 in every 59 children in America is born with Autism, meaning that a lot of people are or know someone who is affected by Autism. It is not a disease that has been long supported. Like other developmental difficulties, Autism has long been seen as something that makes a childless or different. That concept could not be further from the truth, and many have worked to make sure that awareness is brought to the condition. If getting involved in Autism Awareness Month tops the list of things to accomplish in April, here are some excellent opportunities to help build attention locally and nationally.

Popular Forms of Autism Awareness Participation

There are a lot of ways to participate in Autism Awareness Month, all varying in effort and time spent to be a part of the cause.

Put the Puzzle Piece on Everything

The longtime logo for Autism Awareness is the puzzle piece. Simply placing it on popular and well-seen objects and social spaces can be very helpful in reminding people about Autism and its impact. For a long time, car bumper stickers and t-shirts were the most comfortable, most popular way to share awareness. Now, Facebook profile picture banners and cell phone cases are growing in popularity. Social media especially is a crucial space to spread Autism awareness because so many people utilize it as a tool for communication and information.

Join a Local Organization

Local Autism organizations are all over communities across the country. Volunteering time to a committee or event can make a big difference, especially given the budget of these organizations. Because so much of the organization’s money goes to the cause itself, staff numbers are usually kept relatively low. Volunteers are the life force of organizations like Autism Matters and others with local groups across the United States.

Keep the Conversation Going

Talking in person with others about Autism is essential, but the hashtag #StandUpForAutism is another excellent way to keep the conversation going online. Many use social media for more interaction than face to face socializing, so it is essential to spread the word as much as possible on Twitter and other digital spaces. Doing so grows awareness and helps Autism awareness to continue to become a necessary part of a popular conversation on health and wellness.

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kid with allergies

Allergies by Season

 

Spring is just around the corner which means allergies are as well for many individuals. While blooming flowers and growing grass may remind you of allergies, they actually exist all year round. Knowing which allergies are present during which season will make it easier to narrow down what triggers your allergy symptoms so that you can prepare before they kick in!

Winter

Winter is coming to an end, but it’s never to prepare for next year early. Winter brings cold temperatures and hard frost in many areas of the country. Those temperatures mean that pollen is at bay. While you spend more time in your house and kick the heat on for the first time, dust and mold that have been lying dormant in your home will wreak havoc on your allergies. To reduce the indoor winter allergies, invest in a HEPA filter for your furnace and change the sheets on your bed regularly.

Spring

Spring is a time filled with beautiful blooming flowers, growing grass, and much more. All of those outdoor allergens create high pollen levels that irritate many allergy sufferers. Allergy testing to find out what types of trees and flowers bother you the most will make avoiding your allergens easier. Spring may be the time to turn to the help of an antihistamine or other allergy medicine to take the edge off of your allergy symptoms.

Summer

Summer is the peak time of year for grass pollen, mainly thanks to all of your neighbors mowing the lawn. Mold spores and seeds make an appearance in July, living on fallen leaves and compost piles. The best way to avoid these allergens is to stay inside in central air conditioning. Be sure to change your HEPA filter often to keep your home clear of mold spores and unwanted dust.

Fall

Fall is a rough time for those allergic to ragweed. The pollen runs rampant outside, along with more mold spores and leftover pollen from the spring and summer months. November is one of the best months for outdoor allergy sufferers. It’s a time when outdoor allergens are dying down, and indoor allergens haven’t been stirred up quite yet.
Remember, not everyone suffers from allergies year-round. You may only notice allergy symptoms one or two seasons out of the year, or they may bother you no matter the weather! If allergies are interfering with your day to day life, contact an allergist right away.

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lady with back pain

4 Tips to Manage Your Back Pain

 

Back pain is a common complaint among people of all ages and activity levels. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide! Back pain can be debilitating and finding a solution may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Follow these simple tips to begin managing your back pain at home today!

Ice and Heat

If you’ve suffered an injury that caused your back pain, ice and heat are the best way to reduce inflammation. For the first 48 hours following the injury, stick to ice. Be sure not to leave the ice on for too long though! A general rule of thumb to follow is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Once the first 48 hours have passed, begin alternating ice and heat in 20-minute segments. The combination will help relieve pain and regain motion of the affected area.

Go for a Walk

The couch may be tempting when you’re suffering from back pain but sitting or lying for too long will actually make the pain worse. Instead, you should try to keep moving each day. Go outside and take a short walk to get your heart rate up and blood flowing! As your pain begins to lessen and your recovery continues, you should aim to add time or speed to your daily walks.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of a good stretching session! You should take 20-30 minutes each day to stretch your muscles and joints. This will work to keep you flexible and discourage joints from becoming stiff. Even if your job entails standing for long periods, you should still take time to stretch side to side and forwards to loosen your back and hip muscles. If you need help remembering to stretch, set the alarm on your phone and begin doing it at the same time each day until it becomes a habit.

Maintain Good Posture

Posture often gets neglected throughout a long day. If you’re suffering from back pain, your poor position could likely be the cause. Instead, you’re sitting or standing, try to be conscious of your posture. Your spine should be aligned straight up and down, from your tailbone to your neck. If you have to bend or lift during the day, maintain proper posture with those movements too! It’s easier than you think to bend over wrong and pull a muscle in your back that will lead to days or even weeks of annoying back pain.

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