STAY HEALTHY. STAY OUT OF THE ER.


We love interacting with the people of the Laredo community, but we’d much rather do it outside the ER than inside it. Keep up with the latest knowledge from our professionals to help keep yourself in the peak of health.




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22/Jul/2019

Time and time again, you have been told by advertisements, doctors, or other medical professionals that wearing sunscreen is essential, but it can be hard to understand the benefits of wearing it until it’s too late and you’ve got a bad sunburn! Wearing sunscreen daily, especially during the summer months, can make a huge difference in your skin’s health and appearance, especially later down the road. In fact, studies have shown that individuals under the age of 55 who use sunscreen regularly have a 24% less chance of developing early signs of aging, compared to their non-sunscreen/occasional sunscreen wearing counterparts.

Sunscreen 101 dictates that wearing it lowers the risk of getting sunburns, which if severe enough have the potential to escalate to skin cancer. People who have received repeated sunburns are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with melanoma (the most dangerous kind of skin cancer) later down the road. This type of skin cancer can be life threatening to all ages, even people in their twenties.

The first and most important thing to look for when shopping for sunscreen is the “broad spectrum” protection. This label means the protection offered covers both UVA and UVB rays and has gone through specific tests to receive this certification. UVB rays are what causes the standard sunburn, but UVA rays are what can cause skin cancer and signs of premature aging. It is also essential to understand that the SPF count is the percentage of protection the product offers against UVB rays. It’s recommended that you use at least SPF 30 or higher, as SPF 15 only filters out 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out 97%, SPF 50 filters 98%, and finally SPF 100 screens 99%. Unfortunately, there is not an SPF count that filters out 100% of protection. We should also note that the FDA requires any sunscreen with SPF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against sunburn, not skin cancer or skin aging. When searching for a “water-resistant” option, you should know that no sunscreen is considered water or sweat-proof, which is why it is recommended to continuously re-apply every two hours, even more often if you are in the water or breaking a sweat.

When examining the ingredients list, specific ingredients are vital to making sure your sunscreen is effective, such as titanium oxide, for promoting healthy skin, octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), avobenzone (also parasol), zinc oxide, which all offer basic, everyday protection.

As far as sunscreen goes, another way to protect your skin from the blazing summer sun is by simply covering up. Be sure you are wearing clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin as much as possible. It’s also important to wear sunglasses, which can protect your eyes from 99% of UV light. Limiting direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when UV rays are most active, will also be beneficial to your skin.

We hope you find these tips helpful and beneficial with summer quickly approaching!

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 


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22/Jul/2019

We all know that the month of July is a time for fun in the sun! Many of us are flocking to vacations, pool parties, camping trips and sporting events that will occupy a large part of our time during the warmer months. These activities can be exciting, but they can often take a dangerous turn if we are not thinking about our exposure to the elements – Heat Exhaustion can strike without notice or warning, and quickly turn to the more deadly Heatstroke without treatment.

The CDC tells us that heat-related illness kills up to 600 people every year in the US alone, but we can easily avoided it if we can recognize the risk. Obvious risk factors like time of day and activity level do play a major role in the onset of heat-related illnesses, but there are other contributors that may not be as easily noticeable. Some important factors to recognize are:

1.)Using prescription medication – The elderly are especially susceptible to heat-related illness due in large part to the use of medications that are used to treat heart conditions, blood pressure or urinary problems. If you are out and about on a hot day with your grandparents or other older friends, be sure that they are properly hydrated, shaded and have frequent breaks from activity.

2.)Alcohol use – It’s safe to say that people who are on vacation or at a backyard party are usually not thinking about the risk of sun exposure as their first concern, especially once someone has had a few drinks, protection from the sun may be an afterthought. For those times this summer when the only thing on your mind is having a good time, be sure that sunscreen, shade, and hydration come first!

3.)Being overweight or obese – anyone carrying more weight can be prone to overheating quickly. As the body is expending more energy to move, it also cannot process the heat it’s taking on through thicker bodily layers. This combination can be a fast track to heat-induced issues for people who are overweight.

We know that recognizing risk factors is half the battle when it comes to fighting heat-related illness, but the other half is being able to identify heat exhaustion and heatstroke in time to avoid permanent physical consequences.

 

Heat Exhaustion

 

Heat Exhaustion can be thought of as the precursor to Heatstroke, and though it is less serious, treatment should be rendered immediately if you see someone displaying symptoms.  Identifiable symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Headache

 

The best treatment for Heat Exhaustion is to help that person to cool themselves and lower their body temperature. A person suffering from mild Heat Exhaustion can recover if they take the steps rest and thoroughly rehydrate – move into the shade, remove excess clothing, drink water or a sports drink, and run cold water over the skin if it’s available. If the symptoms do not improve within an hour, it’s time to call a doctor.

 

Heatstroke

 

After the stages of Heat Exhaustion progress, we are now dealing with the most dangerous heat-related illness: Heatstroke, and it can be deadly. Heatstroke can cause damage to nearly every major bodily system if not treated immediately. Recognizable symptoms of Heatstroke include:

  • Hot, dry skin (this person is no longer sweating)
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

 

It is vitally important that anyone who is suffering from Heatstroke seek emergency medical attention immediately because as we mentioned before, permanent damage to the body and its functions can occur very quickly.

 

The bottom line for fun in the sun: if you’re going to be out in it, be prepared! Pack sunscreen, shady hats, and plenty of fluids. The risk of Heat-related illnesses can definitely be scary, but with awareness and knowledge, you can enjoy your summer fun knowing that you’re ready to handle the heat!

 

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


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