The content provided is to share some basic medical information and is not to be taken as medical advice from our Urgent Care Center. For any of these illnesses or issues, we recommend a visit with one of our medical professionals. These visits will provide a better understanding of your exact issue and its treatment.
Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.
Anyone may become dehydrated, but the condition is especially dangerous for young children and older adults.
The most common cause of dehydration in young children is severe diarrhea and vomiting. Older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies and may have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration.
This means that even minor illnesses, such as infections affecting the lungs or bladder, can result in dehydration in older adults.
A sprain, also known as a torn ligament, is the stretching or tearing of ligaments within a joint, often caused by trauma abruptly forcing the joint beyond its functional range of motion.
The majority of sprains are mild, causing minor swelling and bruising that can be resolved with conservative treatment. However, severe sprains involve complete tears, ruptures, or fractures, often leading to joint instability, severe pain, and decreased functional ability.
For immediate self-care of a sprain, try the R.I.C.E. approach — rest, ice, compression, elevation:
Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity.
Ice. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack or slush bath of ice and water for 15 to 20 minutes each time and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake for the first few days after the injury.
Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, the area becomes numb or swelling is occurring below the wrapped area.
Elevation. Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart, especially at night, which allows gravity to help reduce swelling.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) also can be helpful.
Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects the part of the urinary tract. When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a bladder infection (cystitis) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as kidney infection. Symptoms from a lower urinary tract infection include pain with urination, frequent urination, and feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder. Symptoms of a kidney infection include fever and flank pain usually in addition to the symptoms of a lower UTI. Rarely the urine may appear bloody. In the very old and the very young, symptoms may be vague or non-specific.
In uncomplicated cases, UTIs are treated with a short course of antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. In complicated cases, a longer course or intravenous antibiotics may be needed. If symptoms do not improve in two or three days, further diagnostic testing may be needed.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe. If you become exposed to an allergen for the first time, your symptoms may be mild. These symptoms may get worse if you repeatedly come into contact with the allergen.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- hives (itchy red spots on the skin)
- nasal congestion (known as rhinitis)
- scratchy throat
- watery or itchy eyes
Severe allergic reactions can cause some of the following symptoms:
- abdominal cramping or pain
- pain or tightness in the chest
- difficulty swallowing
- dizziness (vertigo)
- fear or anxiety
- flushing of the face
- nausea or vomiting
- heart palpitations
- swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
- weakness or wheezing
- difficulty breathing
A severe and sudden allergic reaction can develop within seconds after exposure to an allergen. This type of reaction is known as anaphylaxis and results in life-threatening symptoms, including swelling of the airway, inability to breathe, and a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure.
If you experience this type of allergic reaction, seek immediate emergency help.
Insect Bites and Stings
Most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, causing little more than redness, itching, stinging, or minor swelling. Rarely, insect bites and stings, such as from a bee, a wasp, a hornet, a fire ant or a scorpion, can result in severe reactions. Some insects also carry disease, such as the West Nile virus.
For mild reactions
To take care of an insect bite or sting that causes a mild reaction:
- Move to a safe area to avoid more bites or stings.
- If needed, remove the stinger.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress. Use a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice. This helps reduce pain and swelling. If the injury is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply 0.5 or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking soda paste to the bite or sting several times daily until your symptoms go away.
- Take an antihistamine (Benadryl, others) to reduce itching.
Usually, the signs and symptoms of a bite or sting disappear in a day or two. If you’re concerned — even if your reaction is minor — seek medical attention.