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Preventive Medicine
The Difference Between Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke
Jun 21, 2019 By Nick E. Colovos, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

woman with heat illness gets helped by manDehydration

One of the most important things you can do to prevent heat illness is staying hydrated. Without the right amount of fluid intake, your body can’t keep its temperature at a normal, consistent level. Dehydration happens when your body lacks the proper amount of fluids and electrolytes to keep working properly.

Dehydration symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Less frequent urination than normal
  • Darker urine color
  • Dry skin
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Headache
Signs of dehydration may be slightly different for younger individuals. In young children and infants, dehydration symptoms can include a dry mouth and tongue, crying without tears, an extended period of time (around 3 hours) without a wet diaper, high fevers, and an unusual amount of sleepiness or drowsiness.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a serious condition. Heat exhaustion happens [...]

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Preventive Medicine
Food Poisoning: What It Is and How to Prevent It
May 24, 2019 By Nick E. Colovos, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

meat and vegetables on grillAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans will experience foodborne illness throughout the year. Contracting food poisoning is as simple as ingesting food that has been contaminated by some germ or toxic substance. This contamination could happen before the food is brought into a kitchen for preparation or during the food handling process. On the bright side, food poisoning is preventable and you can take steps to decrease the likelihood of you or your loved ones contracting it.

What is Food Poisoning?

Foodborne illness, foodborne disease and foodborne infection are other names for what is commonly known as food poisoning. According to the CDC, typical food poisoning symptoms are:
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
These symptoms do not always develop immediately after eating the food and [...]

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Preventive Medicine
Surviving the Spring Pollen
Apr 3, 2019 By Emory Healthcare

Spring is in full swing! Before we get excited and bolt out the doors for warmer weather, it is important to remember that pollen production is high during this season. Spring allergies can be complex. So, where does pollen come from? How do you prevent the allergies? Here are some things to know.

Common Questions About Allergies

Allergies and asthma have an interesting relationship that can affect everyone in some way. See our "Surviving Allergies and Asthma" blog to learn more about the connection between the two.

pollen allergyWhere Does Pollen Come From?

Pollen comes from trees, shrubs, and grass. Every spring, summer, and fall, pollen is released from these plants for fertilization. These tiny grains are carried in the wind and can trigger the common symptoms we know of: runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes. To keep the allergies to a minimum, try avoiding these plant [...]

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Preventive Medicine
Surviving Allergies and Asthma
Feb 15, 2019 By Emory Healthcare

Allergies and asthma are often partners in crime. With pollen production now in high gear, here are some things you should know, including who to see and where to go if you need treatment. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an estimated 60% of approximately 25 million asthma cases in the U.S. are allergy related, making it the most common type of asthma. Other kinds include:

  • Non-allergic/Exercise-induced, which occurs during or after physical activity (see our Understanding Exercise-Induced Asthma blog for more)
  • Aspirin-induced, caused by a sensitivity to non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen
  • Cough-variant, where the chief or even the only sign is a constant dry cough that never produces mucus or phlegm
  • Thunderstorm asthma, which is a form of asthma that occurs when stormy winds and rain break
[...]

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Preventive Medicine
Fighting Flu Symptoms? Know Where to Go to Get the Right Care
Feb 8, 2019 By Emory Healthcare

Since the flu virus is very contagious and can sometimes cause serious complications like pneumonia, knowing where to go can keep you and your family safe if the flu bug visits your home this season.

First, Know the Symptoms

Flu and cold symptoms can seem similar. While there’s no sure-fire way to tell the difference, one hint that it could be the flu is a very sudden onset of symptoms, such as:
  • Bad cough
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Feeling wiped out
  • Fever with chills
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting

Then, Know If You and Your Loved Ones Are Vulnerable

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who get influenza will recover within a few weeks. But it is possible to develop complications as a result of the flu virus, ranging from mild (such as upper respiratory tract or ear infections) [...]

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Preventive Medicine
What You Should Know About the Stomach Flu
Feb 4, 2019 By Nick E. Colovos, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

Everyone on the planet has had or will have stomach flu. Would you be surprised to know that stomach flu isn’t really flu at all? It’s actually a virus (norovirus) — and it’s highly contagious. Stomach flu spreads from infected feces or vomit. Yuck, right? The best way to protect yourself and your family is for everyone to wash their hands often and well. If you’re changing diapers or cleaning up after a sick kid, clean up after yourself, too. This bug spreads easily and is often picked up when we touch hard surfaces used by many (door knobs, sink faucets, cutting boards). The best ways to keep things clean and virus-free is to:

  • Stay away from food prep areas if you’re sick or recovering.
  • Wash your hands with soap + warm water—hand sanitizers don’t do as good of a job.
  • Wear gloves to do laundry.
  • Use disinfectant cleaners generously to kill
[...]

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Preventive Medicine
Back-to-School Bugs & Beyond: Know Where to Go
Jan 22, 2019 By Nick E. Colovos, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

Back to school bugsBack-to-school bugs mean your kids may soon be coming home sniffling, sneezing or showing other signs of battling a “bug.” Your kid’s classroom can be just the kind of enclosed space that makes a great breeding ground for viruses and bacteria to multiply and spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elementary school children catch eight to 12 colds or cases of flu each school year.

Back-to-School Bugs

Back to school brings kids back in touch with lots of other kids. It can be a stressful time, even for kids who have the healthiest immune systems. Children returning to school may be exposed to:
  • Colds, cold sores, coughs
  • Pink eye
  • Stomach bugs
You can prepare your kids for battling any back-to-school bugs by strengthening their immune systems. Here’s how:
  • Get your kids back on a good sleep schedule
  • Boost diets with
[...]

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Preventive Medicine
Do You Know the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?
Jan 16, 2019 By Emory Healthcare

We’re in the midst of a bad flu season that may last longer than most. But do you know the difference between a cold and the flu? Both are respiratory illnesses that have similar symptoms. Although there is no distinct way to differentiate one from the other, it is important to know the type of symptoms and severity each one can cause. Additionally, special tests can be done within the first few days to determine the type of illness.

Common Cold

  • Symptoms are gradual
  • Slight aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Milder conditions compared to the flu

Flu (Influenza)

  • Symptoms are abrupt
  • Fever/feeling feverish (chills)
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches and fatigue (tiredness)
  • Chest discomfort
  • Some may have diarrhea and vomiting (more common in children)
Just like how the common cold and [...]

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Preventive Medicine
When to Get a Flu Shot
Dec 3, 2018 By Nick E. Colovos, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

Get the flu shotIt may be your best chance at preventing the flu—but do you know the best time to get your flu shot? If you get it too soon, you might not be as well protected. But since it typically takes your body 2 weeks from the time you get the shot to develop immunity, you don’t want to wait too late. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season usually runs from November through the end of April, so it’s best to get the flu shot as early as possible prior to the season. October is a recommended time frame.

Who Needs a Flu Shot?

Everyone’s at risk of being infected with the influenza virus and can spread it to others. That’s why the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against it every year, even if you’ve never had the flu. If you have a less-developed or compromised immune system, a yearly vaccination is [...]

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Preventive Medicine
Lifestyle Is the Best Medicine—A Call to Action
Sep 7, 2018 By Sharon H. Bergquist, MD

Women at the farmer's marketKnowing your numbers—blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight—is important. These risk factors and markers, however, only partially tell your story. They measure your risk of disease rather than indicate your well-being. Well-being is more than the absence of disease. It is living life with joy, energy, fulfillment and health. Sadly, we are living at a time when there is a health care paradox: while medical costs continue to rise, our health and well-being are declining. Currently, seven out of 10 deaths in America each year are due to chronic diseases that are mostly preventable, such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. We are dying prematurely, and these diseases are compromising the quality of our years. Our children are projected to fare worse—for the first time in two centuries, they may backslide on the steady rise in life expectancy. The [...]

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