Tag Archives: treatment

How To Treat Minor Burns (And Recognize Major Ones)

Minor burns are common household hazards which are often fine to treat with your first aid kit at home, but sometimes the burn may be worse than you thought – would you be able to tell the difference between a burn that is home-treatable and one that may require medical assistance? Let’s take a look.

Is It a Minor or Major Burn?

It is advised that all burns on children be checked out by a doctor, but for adults there is a little more liberty. It is important to determine the severity of the burn before taking action. You can usually do so by looking at the burn, is it red, small in diameter, with only slight swelling and pain? Chances are it is a minor burn. In which case, home first aid treatment will often be sufficient unless a first-degree burn covers a large sensitive area such as the groin, face, feet, hands or a knee or major joint. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the tell-tale signs of a more serious burn:

  • Red or white splotchy skin (if the burn is white, that means it is deeper and more serious)
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Covers a large area (more than a couple inches for second degree burns)
  • Blisters
  • Charred skin
  • Difficulty breathing (a person may be passed out in extreme cases)
  • High fever
  • Exposed tissue, fat or bone (third degree burns go very deep into the tissues)

In the case of what appears to be a more serious second-degree burn or a third-degree burn, call for emergency treatment asap. If you aren’t sure, it is best to go to the doctor and get it checked out.

Home Treatment of Minor Burns

It is okay to treat very minor burns at home by abiding the following steps (however if it doesn’t heal well or you think it could be infected, see a doctor):

  • Immediately hold the burn under cool water for up to 20 minutes or until it starts feeling better (research says the longer you leave it under the cool water, the better the potential outcome). Make sure the water isn’t cold, and refrain from using ice packs directly on burned skin.
  • Remove any tight clothing or jewelry from the site of the burn in case it starts to swell.
  • Clean the area with mild soap and luke warm water, then apply antiseptic ointment) or aloe vera gel if it looks and feels good).
  • See your doctor for follow up care if large blisters develop or if it isn’t healing well or shows signs of infection such as pus.
  • Taking OTC medications such as Tylenol may help ease the discomfort, Benadryl can help stop any itching.

What To Do In Case of a Major Burn

It is important to act fast when it comes to third-degree (or serious second-degree) burns. If someone has been severely burned, contact emergency treatment immediately. In the mean time, there are a few precautions to take:

  • Check the person’s breathing, perform CPR if there doesn’t seem to be breathing or movement.
  • Try to elevate the burned area above the person’s heart.
  • Do not run water over the person’s burns, it could lead to hypothermia in a severely burned person.
  • You can try using a cool, moist clean towel to lay on the burn, but don’t rub the area.
  • Don’t remove clothing that is stuck to the burn areas, only a professional should do that.
  • Try to tell the ambulance driver as many details as you can about how the person got burned and what you did to assist them.

That concludes our look at the difference between minor and serious burns, and how to treat them. Keep an eye out for burn prevention tips soon! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

15 Surprising Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12, medically known as cobalamin, is an important vitamin that is responsible for the development of red blood cells and proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, just to name a couple of its duties. Our bodies don’t naturally produce B12, so we must obtain it through diet. B12 deficiency is a common problem because many people have diets low in animal products (the main dietary source of B12), or problems with vitamin absorption. Some surprising symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  1. Paranoia or neuroticism
  2. Depression, problems with mood calibration or behavioral changes
  3. A sore mouth or tongue (or swollen tongue)
  4. Lethargy or fatigue
  5. Anemia
  6. Foggy brain (trouble concentrating or reasoning)
  7. Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
  8. Nerve problems like loss of sensation and impaired mobility
  9. Stomach problems like gas, constipation, bloating or diarrhea
  10. Numbness of the extremities (sometimes can be confused with carpel tunnel)
  11. Vision problems like blurry vision
  12. Weakness, faintness or dizziness
  13. Jaundice (yellowing skin)
  14. Menstrual complications
  15. Shortness of breath

Time To See The Doc?

While it is important to treat supplements with caution and only start them after talking to your doctor, people who are deficient will require vitamin B12 supplementation. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can be serious business and may creep up on you over time, so if you are experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms, see your doctor soon for B12 screening. Keep an eye out for our article about vitamin B12 rich foods, thanks for visiting DocChat!

COPD – Get The Facts

COPD is a serious and misunderstood chronic lung condition. It is one of America’s stealthiest top killers, even though many people are hardly aware of the facts. COPD is serious business, and everyone should be aware of the early signs. Let’s take a gander at some of the facts:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a few progressive (and life-threatening) lung conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthmatics (symptoms never go away).
  • People with COPD have a hard time breathing because their airways lose elasticity, scarring destroy airway walls, or too much mucus is produced which clogs the airways.
  • It is also a leading cause of disability.
  • At least 11 million Americans are afflicted with COPD (the numbers are likely much higher is it is underdiagnosed).
  • Every hour approximately 250,000 people worldwide will die of COPD.
  • More women die of COPD than men, largely because of misdiagnosis but it appears estrogen plays a role as well.
  • COPD often affects those in their 50’s and 60’s, but younger people can also have COPD.
  • Many people aren’t diagnosed until their disease is in the advanced stages. Know the early warning signs: chronic coughing, shortness of breath, blueish lips or fingernails, chronic wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue and frequent bouts of bronchitis.
  • While the main cause of COPD is smoking and inhaling smoke, not everyone who has the disease is a former smoker. Inhaling environment pollutants over a long term (such as at a hazardous job) and genetics can also cause COPD.
  • If you have COPD, ask your doctor to screen you for the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency AATD gene, as it may help shed light on how severe your lung disease is or will likely become.
  • The best way to prevent COPD is not to smoke or be around second hand smoke, and to quit if you are already a smoker.
  • There is no cure for COPD, but it is a highly treatable condition if it is caught early enough. Many of the same medications that asthmatics take help COPD sufferers, as well as corticosteroids or oxygen therapy.
  • Early screening can catch COPD before too much damage is done, so the condition can be treated to help slow its progression. Doctors can screen for COPD with a simple spirometry test in their office. Ask your doctor about COPD screening today.

If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms we listed, do not ignore them. Make an appointment today to see your doctor (of one of ours!) to get screened for COPD. Thanks for visiting, we hope you’ll be back again soon!

Could it Be Bacterial Meningitis?

There are several different types of meningitis, but we wanted to zero in on the bacterial type in this post as it has been dangerously mistaken for colds, flus and even hangovers, resulting in several tragedies. Bacterial meningitis can have a mere few initial symptoms or present like other conditions so it is often overlooked until significant damage is done. It can become life-threatening in a matter of hours if drastic action isn’t taken, or cause life-long disabilities for survivors. It is important to know the common symptoms so you can catch meningitis before it ends in tragedy.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges (the protective lining covering the brain and spinal cord). The bacterial variety is caused by infectious microbes like B. Streptococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae.

How Many People are Affected?

Bacterial meningitis statistics differ from year to year, often affecting over 4000 Americans and causing somewhere in the vein of 500 deaths.

A Camouflaged Condition

Tragically, earlier this year a 21-year-old who mistook fast-moving bacterial meningitis for a hangover died in hospital within hours of the onset of her symptoms. This recent, unfortunate case has garnered much awareness for the seriousness of the condition. Young people should be especially aware of the symptoms of meningitis as it can spread quickly through dorms and be mistaken for other ailments.

Symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis

Symptoms differ from person to person, but common symptoms of bacterial meningitis to watch out for include:

  • Stiff neck (this one is important to note as it is perhaps the most distinguishing symptom of meningitis
  • General malaise
  • General pains (often legs)
  • Pale, splotchy skin
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion or fussiness
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing or heartrate
  • Rash

Treatment for Meningitis

If you have any of the symptoms above and believe you could have been in contact with someone infected with meningitis, seek medical help immediately to be screened. When it comes to meningitis, it is better to be safe than sorry! Meningitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care. Once at the hospital, treatment usually consists of an intravenous combination of corticosteroids and strong antibiotics. The steroids can help limit damage and inflammation of the brain.

Keep an eye out for some meningitis prevention tips in the future! Thanks for visiting DocChat!




What is Post-Nasal Drip?

Everyday our bodies produce over a quart of mucus, but some people produce excess mucus or mucus that is too thick to easily swallow and it uncomfortably drips down the throat. This condition is called post-nasal drip (PND). Let’s look at some PND facts now:

  • What is mucus? It’s a thick substance that helps moisten the nose, throat, airways and intestinal tract and protect the body against potentially harmful or infectious foreign substances (like bacteria) by trapping them.
  • When this mucus goes haywire, uncomfortable issues ensue, like chronic coughing, an ever-present need to clear your throat and can even lead to an ear or sinus infection.
  • Many things can lead to PND, some common causes are: allergies, asthma, colds or flus, sinusitis or rhinitis, medications, a deviated septum or even pregnancy!
  • Weather changes or dry air can contribute to PND as well.
  • Spicy foods and dairy can lead to worsening of the condition.
  • Swallowing issues like GERD may cause a build up on mucus and can be misdiagnosed as PND.
  • There are various OTC and prescription medications to help treat PND such as: antihistamines, decongestants (for non-asthmatics), saline sprays or corticosteroid nasal sprays.
  • Breathing in steam or peppermint oil steam can help thin out the mucus and loosen it from the nasal walls and throat so you can get rid of it easier.
  • Invest in a humidifier for your room, as the humidity can help thin out the mucus.
  • Drinking plenty of water can also thin your mucus and make it easier to get rid of naturally.

Some natural remedies for PND include:

  • A natural nasal irrigation with baking soda and salt
  • Gargle with warm sea-salt water
  • Eat roasted garlic which is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Drink ginger tea which has decongestant properties

If all else fails, try some good old fashioned chicken soup! This comfort food may help relieve you momentarily. Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll return again soon!

Therapeutic Massage Part 2 – Risks, Tips and Cautions

Massage is a widely popular alternative therapy that many look to for stress and pain management, as well as for its potential to ease symptoms of certain health conditions. In Part 1, we took a closer look at some of the conditions helped by massage. In this post we want to touch on more conditions that may see benefits from massage, as well as to look at potential risks and how to choose which type of massage for you.

Other Conditions That May Benefit From Massage

Massage has also been known to help with the following conditions as well:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Headaches
  4. Insomnia related to stress
  5. Temporomandibular joint pain
  6. Soft tissue injuries
  7. Certain digestive disorders

Potential Risks of Therapeutic Massage

As we have illustrated, therapeutic massage can have many potential benefits, however, as with anything there are risks associated with massage as well. Some of which include blood clots, contracting an infectious disease, nerve damage or bruising for massages that are too rough. Also, there are certain people who shouldn’t have massages, including those with bleeding disorders, open wounds or severe osteoporosis. It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of alternative therapy such as therapeutic massage to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks for your specific health situation.

How to Choose What Kind of Massage to Get?

There are various types of massage out there such as Swedish (whole-body), shiatsu (finger pressure massage), reflexology (pressure points), hot stone, Reiki, and deep tissue massage. According to WebMD, the most common type of massage is the whole-body relaxation massage that is designed to relax all the muscles, joints and tissues, aiming for stress and pain management. Everyone is different, and the type of massage that will best suit you likely depends on your condition, overall health and the outcomes you wish to obtain from the massage. Be sure to research your masseuse extensively to ensure you are going to a certified, good quality massage therapist who will help you the most. Check out the American Massage Therapy Association database for good options.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll return again soon.






Therapeutic Massage Part 1 – Potential Health Benefits

There are different types of massage such as Swedish, deep tissue or full-body massage. The type that works for you may not work for the next person, as massage is a subjective, one-size-fits-one type of service. There is little conclusive empirical evidence that massage has definitive pain relief benefits, but there is much anecdotal and personal evidence that it can help with pain management and provide the following benefits:

  1. Stress management – Arguably the strongest proven health benefit of massage therapy is its effect on lowering stress. Stress triggers cortisol and adrenaline levels to rise in the body which can have detrimental effects on physical conditions and overall wellbeing, especially when these levels are perpetually elevated due to chronic stress. Massage has shown to reduce stress-releasing hormones, while simultaneously elevating levels of feel-good endorphins in the body which helps many people shake the stress of the day or week.

  2. Lower back pain relief – While research has been inconsistent on massage and pain in general, studies on the effectiveness of massage as pain relief have yielded the best results for patients with chronic lower back pain. Expert massage stimulates the release of natural analgesics in the brain, temporarily distracting the brain’s pain centers by redirecting it with these ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters and hormones. This effect seems to go further in helping back pain than shoulder, hip or migraine pain.
  3. Pregnancy benefits – According to the Mayo Clinic, prenatal massage can be very helpful in lowering stress and anxiety levels in pregnant women, as well as helping to ease the aches, pains and swelling that can be associated with pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA) prenatal massage may even improve delivery outcomes, however it is best to seek out a certified prenatal masseuse to ensure safety and effectivity.  

  4. Insomnia is connected with lower than average serotonin levels, and massage has shown to help increase these levels as well as release other feel-good hormones in the body. These hormones may also help bring down stress, alertness and make way for relaxation and perhaps improved sleep.

  5. Lymphedema – another strongly proven medical benefit of massage is for lymphedema patients. Some patients have such immense swelling and water retention in their lower limbs that water will actually drain out of their skin during the right type of medical massage known as a lymphatic drainage massage. This can be essential for some lymphedema patients, as there is no cure for the disease so patients often get relief from different types of treatment. ‘

 That concludes the first part of our look at the potential medicinal benefits of massages, stay tuned next for some of the risks and different types of massage. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Non-Contagious Causes of a Sore Throat (Part 2)

We’ve all had a sore throat at some point in time and wondered if we should visit a doctor or if it will go away on its own. Sometimes a sore throat is a result of a passing cold, but other times it may be a sign or side effect of an underlying health condition and treatment may necessary to help it pass. We checked out the bacterial and viral causes of sore throats in our last post, so now here are some other types of sore throat causes:

  1. Allergies can cause the mucus membrane to swell, leading to irritation and soreness or itching of the throat. A more serious allergy-related cause of an uncomfortable throat would be an anaphylactic (life-threatening) allergy response which can cause a swollen, painful throat, hives, swelling and difficulty swallowing or breathing. This condition is life threatening, so if someone is experiencing these symptoms seek emergency medical treatment for them as soon as possible.
  2. Idiopathic or hereditary angioedema (swelling of the lower layers of the skin) can cause swelling in all parts of the body, including the throat. Those with angioedema may have some trouble swallowing on one side of the throat but otherwise may feel okay. However, as with anaphylaxis, symptoms can quickly turn dangerous. If you experience extreme throat tightening, difficulty swallowing or breathing, it is important to seek emergency care as you may need to be given corticosteroid injections or IVs to alleviate the throat swelling.

  3. Sinusitis, rhinitis, and asthma are often affiliated with a related condition called post nasal drip (PND) where excess mucus slides down the back of the throat and gets stuck, causing frequent coughing, tickling and soreness of the throat. If you suffer from sinus issues or asthma and think you may have PND, talk to your doctor (or one of ours) about treatment options today.
  4. Injured muscles – Sometimes if someone has yelled too much or too loudly, or has injured their throat in some way, for example by swallowing a jagged piece of chip, it can be tender and painful for days afterward.

  5. GERD – Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disorder may experience the occasional sore throat due to the bilious acid that repeats back up the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. This acid can mildly burn or irritate the throat if it happens frequently. Speak to your doctor today if you experience heartburn symptoms along with an intermittent sore throat, or if you know you have GERD but need treatment for your throat as well.
  6. Smoking and other irritants – smoking exposes your throat to thousands of chemicals and irritants, many of which are carcinogenic. It is common for smokers to experience a longstanding sore throat due to this constant exposure. Those who work in jobs involving pollutants and chemicals may experience similar throat issues.
  7. Rare causes – Rarely, a sore throat can be a sign of HIV or a malignant throat mass. If you sore throat doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other treatment and persists for weeks or months, be sure to see your doctor to rule out more serious issues.

There you have the common non-contagious sore throat causes. If you have any questions about the conditions listed in this post, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to speak to one of our experienced, board certified doctors!





Head Lice Fast Facts

Dreaded head lice can be quite an obnoxious problem for any parent or person in general, so what can be done to avoid them, how are they spread and how are they treated? Let’s take a look!

  • Head lice, medically known as Pediculus humanus capitis, are parasites that thrive on the human scalp, but can also be found on the eyelashes or eyebrows and behind the ears. Lice are spread interpersonally by contact, or less commonly, by sharing items like toys, brushes or clothing.
  • A lice infection is called pediculosis.
  • Lice eggs, or ‘nits’, are often mistaken for dandruff because they are only small white dots, but when the lice grow into adults, they are much easier to spot. They are a few millimeters in length and can be spotted fairly easily with the naked eye.
  • They are common among small children who are often in close contact with one another, especially in school or daycare environments.
  • There are up to 12 million lice infestations annually in the United States among young children alone.
  • Records and genetic testing have revealed that lice have plagued human scalps since the beginning of mankind!
  • If you’ve come in contact with someone who has lice or contaminated items such as a book bag, you can become infested.
  • Head lice is more prevalent among females, possibly because they often have long, plentiful hair.
  • Lice are not carriers of other disease.
  • Adult lice have 6 legs and travel using their legs and claws.
  • Lice require human blood to survive longer than matter of hours, so lice could not survive on a wig for long, as they would be unable to access the scalp for feeding.
  • Signs you or your child may have lice include: discomfort and difficulty in the night, itching or extreme itching, a tickling feeling in the hair, sores or welts caused by scratching.
  • Doctors often use a magnifying glass and fine-toothed comb to diagnose lice, as they can be difficult to find sometimes.
  • Lice can survive underwater for a few hours, and surprisingly, aren’t even killed off by chemical treatments in swimming pools.
  • Some people believe mayonnaise can smother and kill lice. While it may work in some cases, the claim is not empirically supported.
  • Head lice do not infest pets, only humans.
  • There are effective lice treatments on the market, but you should check with your doctor before using them on small children as they may be weight-dosage requirements.
  • It is not necessary to fumigate after a lice infestation, simply clean the house very thoroughly and seal contaminated items in plastic bags for a week or 2, and washing in hot water will kill lice and nits on clothing.

While they are not a serious medical condition, lice are a very bothersome one and would be best avoided. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions, our qualified board certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365!


Cystic Fibrosis Fast Facts

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects 30,000 Americans. Let’s take a look at some of the key facts and figures about this serious condition:

  • Cystic fibrosis is a relatively common life-threatening genetic disease that impairs the secretory glands.
  • It affects many different parts of the body including the lungs, pancreas, sweat glands and reproductive tract.
  • CF causes too much salt to build up in cells, therefor creating a thick mucus that lines the lung walls making breathing difficult.
  • People with CF have salty skin.
  • The average life expectancy for people with CF is approximately 37 years of age
  • People with CF are highly prone to lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia and are more vulnerable to the effects than healthy people, so they often die of complications caused by infections.
  • Although exercise is difficult for people with CF, light exercise can help increase lung capacity.
  • Automatic screening for newborns is carried out in nearly all the hospitals in the United States.
  • The disease is present from birth and caused by a mutated gene carried by both parents.
  • If both parents carry the CF gene, there is a 25% chance their child will develop cystic fibrosis.
  • Approximately 10 million Americans are carriers of the CF gene.
  • There are over 900 mutation variants of the gene, so testing is difficult.
  • Life expectancy for people with CF varies on the severity of their condition and how well they respond to medication.
  • Some people thing cystic fibrosis is contagious, but it is not.
  • Symptoms of CF vary, but include: persistent and chronic coughing due to the constant buildup of mucus, exercise intolerance, poor appetite, slowed growth or weight loss, fatigue, wheezing and breathing difficulty, bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhea and weakness or dizziness.
  • There is no cure for CF but there are many treatment options available today that can extend the life of many CF sufferers such as nebulizer medications, inhaled medications, physiotherapy and oxygen supplementation.
  • Ultimately a lung transplant has the best chance of greatly extending the life of a person with severe CF, although lung transplants are risky as the body can reject the donor organs which would greatly increase the risk of death.

That concludes our look into cystic fibrosis. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about cystic fibrosis or any other medical issue, our excellent board certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365!