Eye Safety Tips

The weather’s getting warmer which means New Jersey outdoor spring sports are in full swing. Whether your child is playing contact sports or just monkeying around at the playground, accidents can happen at any time and it’s best to be prepared with protective gear.

Baseball
April is National Facial Protection & Eye Safety Month

Every April, National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe while playing sports. April is also National Eye Safety Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tens of thousands of sports- and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. It is estimated that up to 75% of sport-related injuries that occur involve the head and neck areas… but the good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.

Accidents can Happen at Anytime, Anywhere

Although our face structure is designed to naturally protect our eyes from injuries, unexpected accidents do happen. The risk of facial injury can occur in just about any sport (baseball, softball, cycling …even running) but are most prevalent in high-risk sports such as boxing and martial arts and even activities involving sharp objects such as fishing. In fact, the U.S. Eye Injury Registry indicates that fishing is the number one cause of sports-related eye injuries.

A study recently published by the University of Alabama analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a database of injuries treated at hospital emergency departments, and found the five most common causes of childhood injuries were, in order of frequency, basketball, football, bicycling, playgrounds and soccer.

Prevent Facial Injury

Calling all MVPs! Don’t take the fun out of the game; instead, play it safe during recreational and organized sports and help prevent serious (and painful) facial injuries with these safety measures:

1. Wear protective eyewear: Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports. Make sure the level of eye protection is appropriate for the type of activity. Regular eyeglasses do not offer proper eye protection; eyewear with polycarbonate lenses that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials standards.

2. Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports: Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing.

3. Wear a helmet: Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.

4. Wear a face shield: Avoid contact injury to the face by wearing a facial shield. Hockey pucks, baseballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage no matter how old you are.

Get Immediate Attention

At eMedical Urgent Care, we provide immediate care for a variety of medical needs including minor injuries from foreign objects in the eyes, ears and nose. After work, or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule.

Don’t Let Sports Injuries Sideline Your Season

By eMedical Urgent Care

Behind every good athlete is a great physician. During a sports physical at the Middletown EMO or Berkeley Heights EMO, any bone, muscle or head injury history to-date is thoroughly reviewed and examined to keep athletes in top shape for the upcoming season. However, tackles, tumbles and falls are bound to happen.

Stunts and plays don’t always go as planned and someone is left on the injured list. Sports-related injuries – minor or major – are inevitable, but how you react will determine the long-term effects of your injury. Often athletes try to finish the game by “pushing through” the pain. While determination and heart are commendable attributes athletes possess, it also is smart to seek medical attention; don’t let one game be your last game.
The following are three most common sports-related injuries, their symptoms and treatments.

Bone Fractures

A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can be simple or complex in multiple pieces. The fracture can bleed into the surrounding tissue, resulting in bruising and, in severe cases, a limb-threatening condition called compartment syndrome. The fracture also can injure adjacent nerves, tendons or blood vessels.

Signs of a Fracture

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Numbness

If you experience any of these symptoms it is best to seek medical attention. During your visit to eMedical Urgent Care in Middletown NJ or Berkeley Heights NJ, a doctor will perform a physical examination. If a fracture is strongly suspected and not seen on X-ray, a CT scan may be recommended. If needed, the doctor will recommend seeing an orthopedic surgeon.

Concussions

Concussion occurs after head trauma and results in headache, confusion, loss of consciousness or other neurological symptoms without any abnormality on a CT scan. Second impact syndrome occurs when a second concussion takes place before the first improves and can result in severe or persistent symptoms and, rarely, brain swelling or death.

Signs of a Concussion

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Double Vision
  • Vertigo

After getting hit in the head it is expected that a headache would follow. However, when sustaining a head injury it is best to visit eMedical Urgent Care or your local emergency department to rule out a traumatic brain injury. When visiting our EMO office in Middletown or Berkeley Heights, a physician will perform a physical examination. A CT scan and/or MRI may be ordered to rule out any serious brain injuries as indicated.  If needed, our physician will recommend seeing a neurologist.

Lacerations

Lacerations are cuts to the skin. Lacerations can be simple, involving only the skin, or complex, with injury to tendons, nerves and/or blood vessels. With tendon lacerations there is weakness in the movement of the affected limb or appendage, and with nerve damage, numbness is experienced in areas away from the location of the laceration.

Signs of a Laceration

  • Cut
  • Bleeding
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

If you have a cut that won’t stop bleeding after being covered with a bandage for a few hours, you should head to either the Middletown or Berkeley Heights eMedical Urgent Care center.  A history and physical exam will be performed with special attention to blood vessels, nerve and tendon functions to evaluate the injury. An X-ray may be done to rule out a foreign body. Simple lacerations may require only a bandage or sutures may be necessary. More complex lacerations may require repair of tendons, nerves and/or arteries. A tetanus vaccination may be recommended.

As long as there are athletes there will be injuries. eMedical Urgent Care asks that you play responsibly. From pee-wee football to varsity to rec league, our doctors can treat a variety of sports-related injuries quickly and competently. And, should you need a sports physical for the next season, we can do that too.

If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care Middletown and Berkeley Heights are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

‘Tis the Season for Cuts and Lacerations

slipping on iceBy eMedical Offices

Whether you slip on the ice and suffer an abrasion or are injured while gathering wood for the fireplace, how do you decide if a wound needs stitches? There are several issues that have to be taken into account when answering to that question. You’ll also need to determine if the wound should be treated with antibiotics, if it requires a specialist’s care, such as a plastic surgeon, or if a tetanus shot is needed. In this post I’ll discuss some of the factors doctors use to decide how to treat wounds.

What to do First
The first thing to do if you or your child is wounded is to put direct pressure on the wound to try to stop the bleeding. If the wound is in an area that can’t be compressed or it’s too painful to apply pressure directly to the wound, try applying pressure above the wound or elevating the area. Ice can also be helpful in stopping the bleeding and can decrease swelling as well. If the would is dirty, it should be washed with soap and warm water and rinsed with warm water to help remove any large particles of dirt and debris.

A Physician Evaluation
When examining a wound, your doctor will evaluate:

The age of the wound: In general, the longer it takes to heal, the higher the risk of infection. The best approach is to repair the wound within 2 to 4 hours. Bacteria can grow in a dirty wound within 3 to 4 hours. However, wounds in vascular areas (such as the face) can be safely closed within 24 hours as long as the wound is thoroughly cleaned. Because there is no definitive rule, it’s important for each injury to be evaluated by a physician, who can determine the best course of care.

Any underlying medical conditions: Certain factors put the wound at higher risk for infection, such as the patient’s age or other medical conditions. Very young and very old patients are at higher risk of infection due to lowered ability to fight infection. Certain medical conditions – diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders, immune disorders, cancers and malnutrition – can weaken the immune system and increase risk of infection. Also, treatments such as chronic steroid use, chemotherapy or radiation therapy can put patients at higher risk. Being able to provide your or your child’s immunization history is important. This should include date of last tetanus shot and if the full series of tetanus immunization has been completed.

Type of wound:

  • Abrasions are caused by friction of the skin on a hard surface, resulting in injury to outer layer(s) of skin
  • Lacerations are caused by a tear in tissues, which can be produced by shear forces, such as a knife, or compressive forces, such as hitting your forehead on a car dashboard.
  • Crush wounds are caused by the impact of an object against tissue, particularly over a bony surface, which compresses the tissue.
  • Puncture wounds are those with a small opening whose depth can’t be entirely viewed.
  • Avulsions are wounds in which a portion of tissue is completely separated from its base and is either lost or left with a narrow base of attachment (a flap).
  • Combination wounds are the result of a combination of the above types of wounds.

Possible contamination of the wound: All traumatic wounds are contaminated to some extent with bacteria. Any wound that has been exposed to biological fluids (saliva, blood or feces) or those exposed to vegetation, soil or water will be at high risk for infection. Abrasions, crush wounds and avulsion injuries are at higher risk of infection due to injury to tissues. Puncture wounds are at higher risk because it’s more difficult to fully explore, clean and rinse the wound.

Location of the wound: Wounds in areas where capillaries carrying blood are close to the skin surface, such as the scalp or face, are at lower risk of infection; wounds on the extremities such as hands, fingers, feet and toes will be a higher risk. Your doctor should only prescribe antibiotics after careful examination, decontamination and review of risk factors for infection. Any involvement of tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles or nerves may require surgery.

Treating the Wound
Once the wound has been evaluated and the doctor has decided that it needs to be sutured, the area will be prepped with an antiseptic cleaner. A local anesthetic is injected around the edge of the wound to numb the area and decrease the bleeding. This tends to be the most painful aspect of the procedure since the anesthetic can cause burning and stinging. For children, an anesthetic cream may be applied to the wound before local anesthetic is injected to minimize pain.

After the wound has been numbed, it will be thoroughly cleaned and examined for tissue damage, foreign objects and contamination. If you have a deep wound, a layer of dissolvable sutures may be used. The top layer of skin may be closed with nylon sutures strong enough to hold the wound closed. Staples are another option for closing large lacerations on areas such as the scalp.

BioGlue, a sterile surgical adhesive, also can be used to close the wound. It works best for straight cuts that aren’t over areas that are frequently bent, such as joints. The adhesive may be used without anesthesia, but wounds still require careful cleaning, rinsing and examination.

After Treatment
Generally, sutures stay in for five days in areas like the face, and up to 10 days in areas like the scalp. These time frames can vary based on location of wound and how much tension is on the sutures. If the injury was at high risk for infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If you aren’t prescribed antibiotics, you may be asked to return to your doctor’s office in 24 to 48 hours to check for any signs of infection.

The wound should be kept covered with non-stick gauze and triple antibiotic ointment to help keep the wound moist, prevent infection and decrease scarring. All lacerations will result in a scar, which may not be apparent for 6 to 12 months. Avoiding direct sunlight to further decrease scarring.

If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Offices is open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.