Why You Need to Wash Your Hands

Why You Need to Wash Your Hands

Remember when you were little, and your parents told you to wash your hands? Well, they were right to do so!

It turns out a square inch of skin on our hands can be home to an estimated 1,500 bacteria. Some of these are beneficial to us, but the ones that are not can really make us sick.

Bacteria and viruses are microscopic, which means we can’t see them with the naked eye. While some germs peacefully co-exist with us, most are foreign bodies we pick up from handling everyday items like our cell phones, door handles, shopping carts, and even our toothbrush.

The simplest and best way to prevent bacteria-related illnesses and other infectious diseases is to wash your hands with soap and water.

How Washing Your Hands Can Prevent Illnesses

Washing your hands with soap helps remove germs. Removing harmful bacteria from your hands can help prevent infections.

We are always using our hands even without realizing it. If we touch our eyes, mouth, or nose with dirty hands, germs can quickly enter our system.

 

Here are a few facts about how having clean hands can reduce illness:

  • Proper handwashing can reduce diarrheal disease-related deaths by up to 50%
  • Researchers estimate that regular hand washes can help prevent one million deaths a year
  • Washing your hands can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%
  • Contaminated hands are one of the leading causes of foodborne disease outbreaks

 

While the most common form of hand sanitizing is soap and water, alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers have proven to be an excellent way to reduce the overall absenteeism in schools due to infection.

The Proper Way to Wash Your Hands

Altus Emergency Centers is committed to safeguarding the health of the community we serve.

There are many benefits to learning the correct way to wash your hands, including:

 

  • It reduces the number of diarrhea cases by 23-40%
  • It lowers diarrheal illnesses in patients with a weakened immune system by 58%
  • It reduces the spread of respiratory diseases like colds by up to 21%
  • It can help reduce schoolchildren’s absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness by as much as 57%
  • It can help protect one out of every three young children from getting sick with diarrhea, and almost one out of five young kids from contracting respiratory infections like pneumonia
  • It may help improve early child development

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you wash your hands during these times:

 

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after tending a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a baby’s diaper
  • After helping a child use the bathroom
  • After sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing
  • After touching an animal, its food or waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

5 Steps to Wash Your Hands

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Lather with plenty of soap. Lather the back of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails
  3. Scrub at least 20 seconds
  4. Rinse off the soap with water
  5. Dry your hands

Helping you stay safe and healthy is our priority, and when prevention fails, we will be here to help you get healthy once again.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Flu Season is Here

The Flu Season Has Arrived

It’s that time of year again when the sniffling, coughing, and body aching of flu symptoms reappear.

While the common cold will make us miserable for a few days, the dangers associated with the influenza virus are a reason for concern to us all.  Check out the following tips that will come in handy to prevent the spread of influenza as well as knowing the warning signs of something more dangerous.

2018-2019 Flu Season by the Numbers

The CDC’s estimates for the last flu season, which span from October 1st, 2018 through May 4th, 2019, were more alarming than authorities initially estimated.

According to the CDC’s report:

  • Total flu cases ranged between 37.4 million to 42.9 million
  • There were 17.3 million to 20.1 million flu-related doctor visits
  • The flu resulted in 531,000 to 647,000 hospitalizations
  • Flu-related deaths were between 36,400 and 61,200

According to the latest report issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services, between September 30th, 2018, and September 26th, 2019, there were a total of 10,020 flu-related deaths in our state.

What Can We Expect For This Year’s Flu Season?

Every year medical researchers try to reduce the severity of the flu season in attempting to forecast and track the flu virus. Efforts are also made to predict which strands of the virus will be more frequent and develop vaccines to target those viruses.

However, despite everyone’s best intentions, the influenza virus is unpredictable, which means nobody knows for sure how severe this flu season will be.

Therefore, the best we can do is to protect ourselves as best we can.

Tips To Help You Protect Yourself From the Influenza Virus

Your best defense against the flu will always be to get your flu shot every year. Every year a new vaccine is released to help protect against the strains of flu experts feel will be most likely to be circulating that season.

In some cases, the vaccine may not prevent you from getting sick with the flu, but it will help to reduce the severity of the illness.

Additionally to getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself by:

  • Avoid being around people who are sick. If you are the person who is ill, do everyone a favor and stay home
  • Always cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces, especially those in high-traffic areas
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent germs from entering your system
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated and active

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Risk Factors and Complications from the Flu

Over-the-counter medicines just treat symptoms. Prescription medication like Tami flu or Xofluza is only helpful if taken within 48 hrs. of first symptoms.  They are a good aid in addition to rest and taking in fluids.  An influenza virus left untreated may escalate into complications from the flu which can be dangerous.

Some people have a higher risk of developing complications from the flu, including:

  • Infants and small children
  • Pregnant Women
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system

Complications from the flu range from mild to life-threatening and include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation of the heart or brain
  • Inflammation of the muscles
  • Organ failure
  • Death

When to Go to the ER

Anyone who is a high-risk patient should contact their primary care doctor when they suspect they have the flu. Your doctor can monitor your symptoms and prescribe treatment to prevent complications.

Regardless of risk factor, anyone who develops the following symptoms should come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for treatment:

  • Persistent fever of 103°F or higher
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable vomiting

Additionally, children should be brought to our pediatric emergency ward if they:

  • Are breathing fast or have trouble breathing without physical exertion
  • Have a fever with a rash
  • Their fingers, lips, or skin turns bluish
  • Are drinking minimal amount of liquid
  • Are unresponsive

Altus Emergency Centers are always ready to treat any medical emergency, including complications from the flu.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, don’t delay, seek immediate treatment at any of our facilities.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries

Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries

Thanksgiving is the official start of the Holiday Season. This American holiday is the perfect excuse to spend time with your family and friends.  Let’s take some time to prepare a safe and happy time with our friends and family by preventing common Thanksgiving injuries.

At Altus Emergency Centers we are always looking for ways to keep you and your loved ones safe in whatever you do, whether you are cooking a feast, carving the turkey, or tackling your siblings and friends at the annual family football game, safety is critical!

Injury Prevention Tips

Thanksgiving day is a busy day for the entire family. Having a plan well in advance can help reduce stress levels and prevent accidents.

Here are a few tips to keep you out of our ER’s this Thanksgiving Day!  Please take the time to share them with your friends and family so we may all do our part in preventing common Thanksgiving injuries.

Preventing Injuries in The Kitchen

 

  • Some turkeys are massive, so remember to lift with your legs, not your back!
  • When taking the turkey out of the oven, make sure you have cleared a space to place it, so you don’t have to scramble with a hot turkey pan while you find a place to set it
  • Keep pot handles away from the edge of the stove to prevent accidentally knocking pots over
  • Use potholders when checking the turkey and only grab pots and pans by their handles
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close to the kitchen just in case something catches fire
Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries in the Kitchen

Preventing Sports Injuries

 

If part of your Thanksgiving tradition involves a friendly game of flag football, then you need to be extra careful.

In the best-case scenario, you will end up a little sore from the physical exertion; in the worst case you could end up in one of our ER’s with an ankle injury, a hand or knee sprain, or even a broken bone. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to:

  • Start working out before your annual game; even some gentle physical activity can prepare your body and help prevent injuries
  • Avoid tackle football, instead convince your playmates to go for a friendly game of tag or flag football
  • Wear appropriate clothes and shoes
  • Warm-up with some jumping jacks, a little jog, and always remember to stretch before and after a workout
  • Don’t play sports if you have been drinking
  • If you feel pain, stop playing. If the pain is severe come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for evaluation
Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries Playing Sports

Preventing Carving Injuries

 

These simple knife tips will help keep all your fingers intact this year:

  • Focus on what you are doing don’t let anyone distract you while slicing food
  • Don’t rush, take your time while carving the turkey, or ham. Also don’t hurry your knife work when you are preparing the dishes
  • Make sure your knife is sharp, most accidents happen when using blunt or dull knives
  • Place the cutting board or plate on a non-slip surface to anchor it. Never try carving a turkey on a slippery surface
Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries Cutting

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Injuries

 

It’s okay to want to have a good time in the company of friends and family, but remember to drink responsibly.

  • If you are taking any medications, speak to your doctor to see if there could be any negative side-effects from mixing your meds with alcohol
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Drunk driving accidents peak during the Holiday Season – protect yourself and plan ahead
Preventing Common Thanksgiving Injuries Prevent Alcohol Poisoning Drunk Driving

Altus Emergency Centers would like to remind you that you are the reason someone is thankful this year. Do everyone a favor, and stay safe this Thanksgiving, this way we can all have even more to be grateful for!

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Has the Flu Season 2019 Hit Yet?

Has the Flu Hit Yet?

It’s that time of year again when the sniffling, coughing, and body aching of flu symptoms reappear.

While the common cold will make us miserable for a few days, the dangers associated with the influenza virus are a reason for concern to us all.  With flu season 2019 potentially right at our doorstep, here are tips that will come in handy to prevent the spread of influenza as well as knowing the warning signs of something more dangerous.

2018-2019 Flu Season by the Numbers

The CDC’s estimates for the last flu season, which span from October 1st, 2018 through May 4th, 2019, were more alarming than authorities initially estimated.

According to the CDC’s report:

  • Total flu cases ranged between 37.4 million to 42.9 million
  • There were 17.3 million to 20.1 million flu-related doctor visits
  • The flu resulted in 531,000 to 647,000 hospitalizations
  • Flu-related deaths were between 36,400 and 61,200

According to the latest report issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services, between September 30th, 2018, and September 26th, 2019, there were a total of 10,020 flu-related deaths in our state.

What Can We Expect For This Year’s Flu Season?

Every year medical researchers try to reduce the severity of the flu season in attempting to forecast and track the flu virus. Efforts are also made to predict which strands of the virus will be more frequent and develop vaccines to target those viruses.

However, despite everyone’s best intentions, the influenza virus is unpredictable, which means nobody knows for sure how severe this flu season will be.

Therefore, the best we can do is to protect ourselves as best we can.

Tips To Help You Protect Yourself From the Influenza Virus

Your best defense against the flu will always be to get your flu shot every year. Every year a new vaccine is released to help protect against the strains of flu experts feel will be most likely to be circulating that season.

In some cases, the vaccine may not prevent you from getting sick with the flu, but it will help to reduce the severity of the illness.

Additionally to getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself by:

  • Avoid being around people who are sick. If you are the person who is ill, do everyone a favor and stay home
  • Always cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces, especially those in high-traffic areas
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent germs from entering your system
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated and active

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Risk Factors and Complications from the Flu

Over-the-counter medicines just treat symptoms. Prescription medication like Tami flu or Xofluza is only helpful if taken within 48 hrs. of first symptoms.  They are a good aid in addition to rest and taking in fluids.  An influenza virus left untreated may escalate into complications from the flu which can be dangerous.

Some people have a higher risk of developing complications from the flu, including:

  • Infants and small children
  • Pregnant Women
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system

Complications from the flu range from mild to life-threatening and include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation of the heart or brain
  • Inflammation of the muscles
  • Organ failure
  • Death

When to Go to the ER

Anyone who is a high-risk patient should contact their primary care doctor when they suspect they have the flu. Your doctor can monitor your symptoms and prescribe treatment to prevent complications.

Regardless of risk factor, anyone who develops the following symptoms should come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for treatment:

  • Persistent fever of 103°F or higher
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable vomiting

Additionally, children should be brought to our pediatric emergency ward if they:

  • Are breathing fast or have trouble breathing without physical exertion
  • Have a fever with a rash
  • Their fingers, lips, or skin turns bluish
  • Are drinking minimal amount of liquid
  • Are unresponsive

Altus Emergency Centers are always ready to treat any medical emergency, including complications from the flu.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, don’t delay, seek immediate treatment at any of our facilities.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

National Liver Awareness Month. Love Your Liver!

Show Your Liver Some Love – October is National Liver Awareness Month

Do you know how important your liver is? Most people tend to neglect this very important organ because most liver diseases don’t manifest symptoms until they are at an advanced stage.

Altus Emergency Centers is committed to providing support and education to the communities it serves, which is why we have put together some important information about the liver awareness, its health and disease prevention.

What Does the Liver Do?

The first step towards better liver awareness is understanding its vital role. The liver is both the largest solid organ and the largest gland in the human body, and it is credited with performing some 500 essential functions, some of the most important are:

 

Bile Production:  Bile is a substance produced by the liver which helps the small intestine break down and absorbs fats, cholesterol and some vitamins including vitamin K which is necessary to produce certain types of coagulants. Bile is vital for metabolizing proteins, as it helps break them down so they become digestible.

 

Metabolizes Carbohydrates: Once carbs have been broken down into glucose in the gastrointestinal tract, it enters the bloodstream and travels to the liver. The liver is then responsible for regulating and maintaining healthy levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen which will be released whenever a quick burst of energy is needed like between meals or during exercise. 

 

Vitamin and Mineral Storage: The liver is responsible for storing significant amounts of vitamin A, D, E, K and B12 and releasing them when required. It also stores copper as well as iron from hemoglobin which is vital for making new blood cells.

 

Filters the Blood: The liver receives 30% of the blood circulating in the body every minute and filters it to remove toxins and other compounds from the blood; some might be normal metabolism by-products like dead cells or certain hormones, others may be harmful toxins caused by the ingestion of alcohol, prescription medications, and other drugs. The liver sends the unwanted substances to the intestine or kidneys for disposal.

Which are the Most Common Liver Diseases?

Let’s spread greater liver awareness by understanding the most common diseases that adversely affect it’s health. The liver is a complex organ, one which works tirelessly, so it comes as no surprise that there are multiple illnesses that can curtail its function, most as stated above are preventable and many respond well to treatment if diagnosed early. For this reason, Altus Emergency Centers advocates for regular liver screenings.

 

Cirrhosis: The condition can be caused by numerous factors including alcohol, harmful toxins, and hepatitis. The disease consists of fibrous tissue that over time grows and replaced liver cells, eventually leading to liver failure as the functionality of the liver cells decreases.

 

Hepatitis: This illness is most commonly caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by toxins or an autoimmune response, and it is characterized by inflammation of the liver. There are several types, hepatitis A and B usually go away on their own or with oral treatments, and most patients make a full recovery within 6 months. Hepatitis C, however, can linger in the body for years and not show any signs or symptoms, luckily this type of hepatitis can only be transferred by coming in contact with the blood of an infected person or through sexual contact.

 

Alcoholic Liver Disease: The most common cause of liver disease in the Western World, like its name suggests, excess alcohol consumption over long periods of time can cause liver damage, scarring, and cirrhosis.

 

Fatty Liver: Associated with obesity or alcohol abuse, this disease is characterized by accumulated vacuoles of triglyceride fat in liver cells. The condition is reversible and does not seem to cause long-term damage.

 

Liver Cancer: This is the 6th most common form of cancer, its leading causes are alcohol abuse and hepatitis.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

How Can You Keep Your Liver Healthy?

Show your liver some love by following these recommendations:

Adopt a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly: Reduce the amount of fat and sugar you consume to give your liver a break. Exercise helps your body burn fat, which improves metabolism.

Cutback on the Alcohol: Avoid consuming more than two alcoholic beverages at a time, the process to break down alcohol produces chemicals such as acetaldehyde and free radicals that are harmful to the liver.

Be Mindful of Prescription Drugs: Some cholesterol-lowering drugs can on occasion have side effects that affect the liver. Over the counter painkillers like acetaminophen have been proven to harm the liver if taken in excess. This painkiller can be found in many prescription pain medications, as well as over the counter ones like Tylenol, and some cold medications. 

Be Cautions When Exposed to Airborne Chemicals: Paint, cleaning solutions, and pesticides can release harmful toxins that can be absorbed by the body and therefore the liver must dispose of and could lead to liver damage. To minimize the inhalation of these chemicals, make sure the room is well ventilated, use masks and gloves. 

Get Vaccinated: There is a vaccine for hepatitis A and B, as well as malaria and yellow fever which also affect the liver, if you are traveling somewhere where any of these may be a concern then you must get vaccinated. 

Exercise Caution with Sex, and Tattoos: There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, so practice safe sex; if getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the studio complies with all sanitary regulations.all sanitary regulations.

Liver Awareness: Warning Signs to Go to the ER

Warning Signs in Children:

According to childliverdisease.org, the following are warning signs that may indicate an autoimmune liver disease in its dangerous stages. Please visit your nearest ER:

The most common symptoms are:

  • Tiredness and generally feeling unwell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or being sick
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice with dark urine and pale excrement
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Weight loss
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Nose bleeds, bleeding gums and bruising easily
  • Amenorrhea (delayed starting of periods or they stop once started)
  • Diarrhea (bowel symptoms are more common in autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis)

When to Bring Your Child to the ER:

  • Changes in mental status including: confusion, delirium, coma, and extreme sleepiness.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Bloody stool.  Blood in stool may be black and tarry, dark red, or bright red.

Warning Signs in Adults:

Bleeding: My stools are black and tarry. I’m vomiting blood.

Confusion: My head is cloudy. I’m so confused and sleepy I can’t do anything.

Fever: I have a fever and I can’t stop shaking.

Jaundice: My eyes are suddenly turning yellow.

Source: US Department of Veteran Affairs.

 

At Altus ER we are strong advocates of liver illness prevention and liver awareness. However, should you or your loved one experience any of the symptoms above do not hesitate to get immediate medical emergency care. Remember that we are a No Wait ER, Open 24/7 with on-site ER physicians, ER nurses, ER Rad techs and top-notch ER technology. Visit one of our locations immediately you are in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, Waxahachie or their surrounding communities.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Top Reasons Medicare Patients Visit the ER

Why Quality Senior ER Care is Vital

The babyboomer generation continues to age, and according to one study, every year, some 56,803 senior citizens find themselves visiting the Emergency Room for various conditions.  Today we will cover why quality senior ER care is vital and the top 10 reasons why Medicare patients visit the ER.

With more patients over the age of 65, hospital-based ER’s are having a hard time providing the care these patients require. This makes access to outpatient ER centers like Altus Baytown ER, which now accepts Medicare, patients a vital service for the community.

Top Reasons Why Medicare Patients Visit the ER

Senior citizens are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, and this makes them vulnerable to suffer complications or injuries. Meaning, they will need immediate emergency medical attention. Unfortunately, because of the overcrowding crisis in hospital-based ER’s many patients, 65 and over, don’t receive timely care.

Here is a list of the top reasons why medicare patients will need to visit the ER.

 

Injuries and Accidents

Older adults can develop balance problems, and this makes them more likely to suffer falls, which could result in a broken bone, or concussion. 

Additionally, eyesight problems and slower reflexes could make them more likely to be involved in car crashes and other accidents. All crash victims regardless of age should visit the ER to ensure there are no severe injuries, and senior patients are not the exception.

Patients 65 and older also have a higher risk of heat-induced exhaustion and dehydration, which are conditions that require immediate medical attention. 

 

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain can be a result of digestive problems, viruses or infection, food poisoning, and in some cases, kidney stones.

Adverse Drug Reactions and Accidental Overdose

Negative side effects of prescription drugs are a common reason for which older patients visit the ER. Self-medication and accidental overdoses are also reasons for which senior patients must go to the emergency room.

 

Heart Disease and Chest Pains

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US according to the CDC. Seniors who experience shortness of breath or chest pains need to come to Altus Baytown ER immediately as these could be signs of a heart attack. 

 

Stroke

Another serious condition that sends senior patients to the ER. Strokes rarely cause pain, but they do cause confusion, slurred speech, and paralysis on one side.

chest pain Medicare Patients Visit the ER

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and severe asthma are all conditions that are known as COPD. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD; therefore, quitting your smoking habit can help reduce the risk of developing COPD. Check your Medicare coverage, as most Medicare Part B plans cover counseling sessions for people who want to quit smoking.

 

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is perhaps the most common upper respiratory infection that lands seniors in the ER. Medicare Part B covers the annual pneumococcal vaccine, which could help prevent respiratory infections like pneumonia.

 

Spinal Disorders

Conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, as well as injuries to the back or neck can cause severe pain. Back pain is a common symptom that prompts older patients to come to the ER.

 

Urinary Tract Infections

Many senior citizens are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of urinary tract infections. To help prevent UTI’s, make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

If you are a senior citizen with Medicare coverage, you now have access to quality emergency room care. Altus Baytown ER is now an outpatient facility for Altus Hospital, and therefore we are now able to accept Medicare patients.

You don’t have to wait in line anymore to get the medical attention you deserve, come to Altus Baytown ER, where top ER doctors and nurses are available 24/7 to attend your medical emergency.

At Altus Baytown ER, We Take MEDICARE!

Altus Baytown ER is the Preferred Outpatient NO WAIT Emergency Room of Altus Hospital.
We’re Open 24/7, Including Holidays.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

How Does the Online Check-In Work?

When minutes matter, try our Quick & Easy Online Check-In System.  It comes in handy to know there’s a great solution as we know there’s no time to wait in an emergency!  Just fill it in, we’ll give you a call within 15 minutes and come in.  We’ll be waiting for you at the door.

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

Altus ER. We-Have-Dedicated-Specialists

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best 24 hour ER services in Texas. We’re proud of our top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts, who are here prepped and ready to help save your life in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Farm and Ranch Safety Tips

Farm and Ranch Safety Tips

For many, farm life is better than any other life!  It’s highly gratifying to be near nature and the healthy outdoors.  As many have heard before, farm and ranch life is not for the faint of heart as it can be labor-intensive. Still, most farmers consider their work rewarding and can’t see themselves doing anything else.

However, what most people don’t know is that agriculture ranks amongst the most hazardous industries in the United States.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 417 farmers or livestock workers died from work-related injuries in 2016. The leading cause of death was vehicle incidents, including tractor overturns.

As the farming and cattle industries are at the very heart of Texas, please keep these farm and ranch safety tips in mind if you work in the agriculture industry or are visiting the countryside.

Road Safety

The Texas Department of Transportation reported that 54.99% of all crash fatalities in 2018 happened on rural roads.

The sad reality is, country roads receive less federal funding and are therefore more likely to have potholes and outdated designs. 

Additionally, there are wild animals that can cross your path. Not to mention that because there is less traffic, drivers tend to drive faster on these roads.

To help avoid accidents while on the road or operating a tractor, we suggest you follow these safety tips:

 

1. Safety Tips for Driven Farm Equipment on Public Roads

  • Make sure all your lights are working properly
  • Ensure your equipment has reflective tape. Don’t forget to place slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems where they are visible to other drivers.
  • Dust your tractor before you take it out on the road to make sure the reflecting tape and SMV emblems are visible

 

2. Tractor Safety

  • Don’t start tractors when inside a closed garage or shed to avoid potential CO2 poisoning to you or the animals. Always start your tractor in a well-ventilated area
  • Allow the tractor engine to cool off before refueling it
  • If your tractor only has one seat, it means only one operator can ride it at a time. Therefore, you should never have extra riders, not even kids
  • To help prevent rollaway accidents, always use wheel blocks when unfastening wagons or carts from a tractor

 

3. Power Take-Off Safety

  • When you are working with a power take-off (PTO), always disengage the PTO, turn off the engine and take out the keys before you get off the tractor to avoid injuries.
  • Never allow anyone to step across a rotating power shaft

 

4. Protect Yourself from Rollovers

  • The best way to protect yourself if a rollover should happen is to add a Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS)
  • Use the seat belt 
Farm and Ranch Safety Tips to Prevent

Grain Handling Safety Tips

  • Never enter a grain bin alone, always have a second person monitoring you while you work in the grain bin
  • Use a lifeline system that includes a harness and an anchored lifeline to avoid getting trapped in the grain bin
  • Beware of silo gas! Always ventilate the silo headspace for at least 30 minutes before entering to remove concentrations of harmful — or lethal — gases such as methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Chemical and Pesticide Safety Tips

Chemicals and pesticides are a stable of farms, but not knowing how to handle them can cause severe injury and even death.

  • Take regular training courses on the proper use, storing, and handling of chemicals and pesticides
  • Use chemical respirators, appropriate gloves, and protective clothing when handling pesticides
  • Keep chemicals and pesticides under lock and key
Farm and Ranch Safety Tips beautiful farm

Additional Farm and Ranch Safety Tips

  • If you are working with farm equipment, try not to wear loose-fitting clothing around any moving parts
  • When running machinery, always wear hearing and eye protection
  • Use masks to help filter out dust and mold
  • Wear sunscreen when working out in the sun
  • Stay hydrated
  • Seal abandoned wells and tanks
  • Make sure you keep up with any changes to federal and state laws concerning your agricultural activity

Working on a ranch or farm provides a blissfulness few other jobs offer; however, it is essential always to stay alert for potential dangers to avoid accidents.

And if an accident should happen, remember Altus Emergency Centers are near to help nurse you back to health. In cases of life-threatening injuries, we can arrange for air transportation to the nearest hospital.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Flood Safety Tips

Flood Safety Tips.  Protect Yourself During and After a Flood.

Water is a source of life; however, during a flood that same water can be deadly. According to the CDC’s website, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other storm-related hazard.

Mother nature is unpredictable, but there are ways to protect yourself and those you love during a flood.

What to Do During a Flood?

The real danger starts once the floodwaters have risen. To protect yourself, please remember:

  • Not to drive through flooded areas or standing water. You don’t know how deep the water is and it’s important to realize you could lose control of your vehicle in as little as 6-inches of water
  • Don’t use flood water for bathing, brushing your teeth, washing or prepare foods, or wash dishes. Under no circumstance should drink flood water as it is most likely contaminated
  • Only drink water from the faucet after your local authorities have said it is safe to drink.
  • During a water advisory, you should only drink bottled. For cooking only use bottled, boiled, or treated water
  • If any of your food supplies come in contact with floodwaters, don’t eat them
  • If you are using a generator, make sure to place them at least 20-feet from any windows, doors, or vents to prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning

Flood Cleanup Tips

The cleanup process is perhaps where most flood-related injuries and illnesses occur. Infectious organisms might have contaminated floodwaters. The most common microorganisms found in standing floodwaters are:

  • coli
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Hepatitis A virus
  • Agents of typhoid
  • Paratyphoid
  • Tetanus

Floodwaters could also be contaminated by hazardous agricultural, industrial, or petrochemical components.

To help keep you safe, the staff of Altus Emergency Centers in Lumberton has several health-related tips to share with you:

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Keep Children Safe

During the cleanup process, keep a close eye on your kids.

  • Don’t let them play in or near floodwater
  • Make sure they wash their hands often or at the very least before each meal
  • Disinfect toys by soaking them in a solution made from 2-ounces of bleach per 1-gallon of water, let toys air dry after you have disinfected them
  • Throw away any stuffed or soft toys that may have been contaminated by the floodwaters

Food Safety

If you have power or are using a generator to power your appliances, then keep your refrigerator as close to 41°F as possible. If your electricity is out, you should know that your refrigerator will only keep your food cold for four or six hours if left unopened.

Additionally:

  • Without power, your freezer will keep your food frozen for one day or two days maximum if left unopened
  • Canned foods are safe to eat. However, you should remove the labels and wash the sealed cans with either warm water and detergent or a mixture made from 1-tablespoon of bleach per 1-gallon of water. You can relabel the cans after washing them
  • Throw away any canned food if you notice the can is rusted, pitted, bulging, or leaking
  • Wash your Tupperware and other kitchen items in a solution of bleach and water to disinfect them
  • Throw away any food that might have come in contact with floodwater unless it comes in a sealed can

Water Safety

  • Follow the guidelines issue by local authorities concerning the use of tap water
  • Boil water for at least one minute to kill any bacteria
  • You can disinfect water by adding 1/8 of unscented household bleach to one gallon of water. You will need to let it rest for at least 30 minutes before you can use it
  • You can also add purifying-tablets to water instead of boiling or disinfecting it
  • If you have infants, don’t feed them formula made with treated water. Try using canned baby formula instead

Beware of Mold

  • Protect yourself from mold by wearing a face mask whenever you are cleaning an area where mold has grown
  • Open windows and doors or use fans to let the air help dry out your home or office. You should try to have all the surfaces cleaned within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold from growing
  • If you encounter mold in your home, try cleaning it with a mixture of 1 cup of bleach per 1-gallon of water.
  • You should always wear gloves when cleaning moldy areas or working with bleach

Protect Yourself from Tetanus

Tetanus can enter the bloodstream through an open wound, even small ones. Tetanus can cause a condition known as lockjaw. This condition causes painful muscle tightening. When it attacks the jaw muscles, you won’t be able to open your mouth or swallow.

If you experience lockjaw, you should come to the Altus Emergency Center in Lumberton as soon as possible.

Treating Wounds

If you cut yourself while cleaning up after a flood, you need to wash the wound with soap and clean water thoroughly. Apply an antibiotic cream to the injury.

If you have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years, you will need to get one. Additionally, if your wound is deep, severe, or becomes infected, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

20 Food Safety Tips We Should All Know

20 Food Safety Tips We Should All Know

National Food Safety Month started in 1994 and is observed every year during September. The purpose of this celebration is to increase awareness of food safety education.

Most of us think we know how to handle food products properly, however, according to the CDC

 

Every year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick, 128,000 need hospitalization, and 3000 die from eating contaminated food.

It takes just a few minutes to review these Food Safety Tips to avoid a potential food poisoning.

Who Is at Risk of Food Poisoning?

Anyone can get food poisoning; however, the following groups have a higher risk of getting sick:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • Adults over 65
  • Individuals with chronic diseases or those taking medications that weaken their immune systems
  • Pregnant women

While the prospect of getting food poisoning can be scary, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy your food. All you need to do is follow these food safety tips.

1. Keep your kitchen, and cooking utensils clean

2. Avoid buying or eating food when the package has a tear, is leaking, bulging, or the containers are rusted

3. Always check the expiration date on the packaging, and don’t eat the food if it’s expired

4. Be aware of any local, state, or national food recalls or alerts. If you bought a recalled item, take it back to the store immediately 

5. Follow the storage instructions on the food labels

6. Your refrigerator should be at 40 degrees F or less, while your freezer should be at 0 degrees F or less

7. Make sure you cook or freeze fresh meat or fish within two days of purchase

8. Securely wrap meats and poultry to prevent them from leaking and contaminating other foods=

9. Wash your hands before and after you handle food products

10. Wash any fruit or vegetable before you eat it even if it looks clean

11. Wash lettuce leaves individually to make sure you remove any dirt or insects stuck on the leaves

12. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, utensils and any hard surface that had contact with raw meats, poultry, or fish

13. Keep raw and cooked foods apart

14. Raw meats need to reach a specific temperature when cooking to kill any germs or bacteria. Follow this easy chart to avoid eating undercooked meats:

Type of Meat

Beef

Poultry

Ground Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb

Minimum Cooking Temperature

160°F

180°F

160°F

15. Cook fish until it flakes, shrimp until they turn an opaque pink color, and oysters until they become plump

16. Don’t leave leftovers out for more than 2 hours, 1 hour on hot days

17. Always marinate your meats in a covered container and place them in the fridge

18. Serve and maintain hot foods at a temperature of at least 140°F

19. Cold dishes need to be served and kept at a temperature of 40°F or lower

20. Thaw your frozen foods in the fridge or submerge them in cold water, so they thaw faster. Change the water every half hour

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Foodborne Germs and When to Come to Altus Emergency Centers

Unfortunately, there are instances that even though you follow the wisdom of these food safety tips, you may get sick.  As there are some foodborne illnesses worse than others, please keep these warning signs in mind to know when to go to the nearest ER.

The top five foodborne illness-causing germs and viruses are:

  • Norovirus: This highly contagious virus causes vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Salmonella: This bacterium causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most patients recover without treatment. However, for some people, the disease can become severe enough to require hospitalization.
  • Clostridium perfringens: This bacterium is present in raw meat and poultry. C. perfringens causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours of infection.
  • Campylobacter:  Approximately 1.3 million Americans get sick from this bacterium every year. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
  • Staphylococcal (Staph): Staph food poisoning causes a sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

You should call 911 or have someone drive you to our nearest Altus Emergency Center if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts more than three days
  • Frequent vomiting and not being able to keep liquids down
  • A fever that is higher than 101°F
  • Bloody vomit or stools
  • Extreme abdominal pain or cramping
  • Not urinating or have very dark urine
  • Seizures 
  • Intense muscle cramps
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle weakness or a tingling sensation in the arms

Altus Emergency Centers is available to treat food poisoning patients 24/7 even on weekends and holidays.

You can use our online check-in form to let us know you are on your way to our facility and the severity of your symptoms. Our nurses and doctors will be waiting for you at the door.

If your symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization, we will arrange for your transfer to the nearest hospital.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products

OFFICIAL CDC HEALTH ADVISORY

Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products

official cdc health advisory

Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing:

1) background information on the forms of e-cigarette products,

2) information on the multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with using e-cigarette products (devices, liquids, refill pods, and cartridges), and

3) clinical features of patients with severe pulmonary disease. This health advisory also provides recommendations for clinicians, public health officials, and the public based on currently available information.

General Background

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, most also contain flavorings and other chemicals, and some may contain marijuana or other substances. They are known by many different names and come in many shapes, sizes, and device types. Devices may be referred to as “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” “mods,” tanks, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Some e-cigarette devices resemble other tobacco products such as cigarettes; some resemble ordinary household items such as USB flash drives, pens, and flashlights; and others have unique shapes. Use of e-cigarettes is sometimes referred to as “vaping” or “juuling.” E-cigarettes used for dabbing are sometimes called “dab” pens.
E-cigarettes can contain harmful or potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals (e.g., lead), volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals. Additionally, some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illicit substances; may be acquired from unknown or unauthorized (i.e., “street”) sources; and may be modified for uses that could increase their potential for harm to the user. For example, some e-cigarette pods or cartridges marketed for single use can be refilled with illicit or unknown substances. In addition, some e-cigarette products are used for “dripping” or “dabbing.” Dripping involves dropping e-cigarette liquid directly onto the hot coils of an e-cigarette which can result in high concentrations of compounds (e.g., tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] and cannabinoid compounds). Dabbing involves superheating substances such as “budder”, butane hash oil (BHO), and “710” that contain high concentrations of THC and other plant compounds (e.g., cannabidiol [CBD]).

Youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not use e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes containing nicotine have the potential to help some individual adult smokers reduce their use of and transition away from cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes are not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a quit smoking aid, and the available science is inconclusive on whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.

Outbreak Background

As of August 27, 2019, 215 possible cases have been reported from 25 states and additional reports of pulmonary illness are under investigation. One patient (in Illinois) with a history of recent e-cigarette use was hospitalized on July 29, 2019, with severe pulmonary disease and died on August 20, 2019. Although the etiology of e-cigarette-associated pulmonary disease is undetermined, epidemiologic investigations in affected states are ongoing to better characterize the exposures, demographic, clinical, and laboratory features and behaviors of patients. All patients have reported using e-cigarette products. The exact number is currently unknown, but many patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD.

Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks. Gastrointestinal symptoms sometimes preceded respiratory symptoms. Fever, tachycardia, and elevated white blood cell count have been reported in the absence of an identifiable infectious disease. Many patients have sought initial care in ambulatory settings, some with several visits, before hospital admission.

Radiologic findings have varied and are not present in all patients upon initial presentation. Bilateral pulmonary infiltrates and diffuse ground-glass opacities have been reported. Many patients required supplemental oxygen, some required assisted ventilation and oxygenation, and some were intubated. Some patients have been treated with corticosteroids with demonstrated improvement. Antimicrobial therapy alone has not consistently been associated with clinical improvement. Assessment for infectious etiologies has been completed in many patients without an identified infectious cause. Several patients from one state have been diagnosed with lipoid pneumonia based on clinical presentation and detection of lipids within bronchoalveolar lavage samples stained specifically to detect oil.

All patients have reported using e-cigarette products and the symptom onset has ranged from a few days to several weeks after e-cigarette use. Within two states, recent inhalation of cannabinoid products, THC or cannabidiol, have been reported in many of the patients. To date, no single substance or e-cigarette product has been consistently associated with illness. CDC is working closely with state health departments to facilitate collecting product specimens for testing at the U.S. FDA Forensic Chemistry Center.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Recommendations for Clinicians

1. Report cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and history of e-cigarette product use within the past 90 days to your state or local health department. Reporting of cases may help CDC and state health departments determine the cause or causes of these pulmonary illnesses.

2.  Ask all patients who report e-cigarette product use within the last 90 days about signs and symptoms of pulmonary illness.

3.  If e-cigarette product use is suspected as a possible etiology of a patient’s severe pulmonary disease, obtain a detailed history regarding:

    • Substance(s) used: nicotine, cannabinoids (e.g., marijuana, THC, THC concentrates, CBD, CBD oil, synthetic cannabinoids [e.g., K2 or spice], hash oil, Dank vapes), flavors, or other substances
    • Substance source(s): commercially available liquids (i.e., bottles, cartridges, or pods), homemade liquids, and re-use of old cartridges or pods with homemade or commercially bought liquids
    • Device(s) used: manufacturer; brand name; product name; model; serial number of the product, device, or e-liquid; if the device can be customized by the user; and any product modifications by the user (e.g., exposure of the atomizer or heating coil)
    • Where the product(s) were purchased
    • Method of substance use: aerosolization, dabbing, or dripping
    • Other potential cases: sharing e-cigarette products (devices, liquids, refill pods, or cartridges) with others

4.  Determine if any remaining product, including devices and liquids, are available for testing. Testing can be coordinated with the local or state health departments.

5.  Consider all possible causes of illness in patients reporting respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and of e-cigarette product use. Evaluate and treat for other possible causes of illness (e.g., infectious, rheumatologic, neoplastic) as clinically indicated. Consider consultation with specialists (pulmonary, infectious disease, critical care, medical toxicology) as appropriate.

6.  Clinical improvement of patients with severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette use has been reported with the use of corticosteroids. The decision to use corticosteroids should be made on a case-by-case basis based on risks and benefits and the likelihood of other etiologies.

7.  Lipoid pneumonia associated with inhalation of lipids in aerosols generated by e-cigarettes has been reported based on the detection of lipid-laden alveolar macrophages obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and lipid staining (e.g., oil red O). The decision about whether to perform a BAL should be based on individual clinical circumstances.

8.  Lung biopsies have been performed on some patients. If a lung biopsy is obtained, lipid staining may be considered during pathologic examination, and is best performed on fresh tissue. Routine pathology tissue processing (including formalin-fixation and paraffin-embedding) can remove lipids. Conducting routine tissue processing and histopathologic evaluation is still important. Consider consultation with specialists in pulmonary medicine and pathology to help inform any evaluation plan.

9.  Patients who have received treatment for severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette product use should undergo follow-up evaluation as clinically indicated to monitor pulmonary function.

Recommendations for the Public

  1. While this investigation is ongoing, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from using e-cigarette products.
  2. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, anyone who uses e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street (e.g., e-cigarette products with THC, other cannabinoids) and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  3. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette products should not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products. If you use e-cigarette products, monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. CDC and FDA will continue to advise and alert the public as more information becomes available.
  4. Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you who need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor.
  5. If you are concerned about harmful effects from e-cigarette products, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
  6. We encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected tobacco or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal:https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov.

For More Information

  1. For assistance with managing patients suspected of illness related to recreational, illicit, or other drugs, call your local poison control center at: 1-800-222-1222.
  2. Information on electronic cigarettes and similar devices:https://www.cdc.gov/e-cigarettes
  3. CDC Press Statement: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/s0821-cdc-fda-states-e-cigarettes.html
  4. CDC Clinical Outreach and Communication Activity announcement:https://emergency.cdc.gov/newsletters/coca/081619.htm
  5. CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program’s BioSense/ESSENCE:https://www.cdc.gov/nssp/index.html
  6. For more information, visit CDC Info:https://www.cdc.gov/cdc-info/index.html

References

Barrington-Trimis JL, Samet JM, McConnell R.Flavorings in electronic cigarettes: an unrecognized respiratory health hazard? JAMA. 2014;312(23):2493-4.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1935097
Behar RZ, Davis B, Wang Y, Bahl V, Lin S, Talbot P.Identification of toxicants in cinnamon-flavored electronic cigarette refill fluids. Toxicol In Vitro. 2014;28(2):198-208.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24516877
Flower M, Nandakumar L, Singh M, Wyld D, Windsor M, Fielding D.Respiratory bronchiolitis-associated interstitial lung disease secondary to electronic nicotine delivery system use confirmed with open lung biopsy. Respirol Case Rep. 2017;5(3):e00230.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/rcr2.230
Gerloff J, Sundar IK, Freter R, Sekera ER, Friedman AE, Robinson R, et al.Inflammatory Response and Barrier Dysfunction by Different e-Cigarette Flavoring Chemicals Identified by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry in e-Liquids and e-Vapors on Human Lung Epithelial Cells and Fibroblasts. Appl In Vitro Toxicol. 2017;3(1):28-40.https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/aivt.2016.0030
He T, Oks M, Esposito M, Steinberg H, Makaryus M.“Tree-in-Bloom”: Severe Acute Lung Injury Induced by Vaping Cannabis Oil. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2017;14(3):468-70.https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201612-974LE
Khan MS, Khateeb F, Akhtar J, Khan Z, Lal A, Kholodovych V, et al.Organizing pneumonia related to electronic cigarette use: A case report and review of literature. Clin Respir J. 2018;12(3):1295-9.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/crj.12775
Kosmider L, Sobczak A, Prokopowicz A, Kurek J, Zaciera M, Knysak J, et al.Cherry-flavoured electronic cigarettes expose users to the inhalation irritant, benzaldehyde. Thorax. 2016;71(4):376-7.https://thorax.bmj.com/content/71/4/376

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

When to Seek Medical Help

Altus Emergency Centers offers minimal wait times, an onsite laboratory, and the most advanced imaging technology. Therefore, we can diagnose patients faster than traditional hospital-based ER’s.

There’s No Time to Wait in an Emergency!

WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, TRY OUR ONLINE CHECK-IN

Check-In Online

Altus Emergency Centers Texas

is Here for You 24/7

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, and fractures, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times. After You Receive Quality ER Care, our Patient Advocate will help ensure Hassle-Free Billing.

Our Promise is to Always Help Find the Best Solutions in Benefit of our Patients from the time you walk-in without having to wait in line and when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

HEALTH NEWS, EVENTS & MORE.

Online Medical Technology

heartBEATRed

😱 EMERGENCIES CAN BE SCARY!
This Halloween, 💀 Don't Turn into a Skeleton Waiting in Line!
🚨 Go to the NO WAIT ER Open 24/7, In-House Doctors 👨‍⚕️

⏱️ Check it out 👉 https://www.altusemergency.com/
🏥 #AltusERCenters Happy Halloween!

🌝 It looks like we're forecasting GREAT WEATHER AHEAD!
Tonight, we root for the #HoustonAstros . ⚾ 🏆 #TakeItBack Guys!
🎃 On #Halloween, we'll see you at the #TrunkorTreatLumberton2019!
Oct. 31st, 6:30pm - 8:30pm 137@ N Lhs Dr, Lumberton

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8 hours ago

Altus Emergency Centers

Thank you Daymark Living for allowing us to donate our time to serve the Daymark community on the upcoming Special Olympics! 💙

📸 In the picture from left to right, Nurse Manager, Sara Berryhill, Staff Nurse, Crystol Laird, and Medical Director, Dr. Terry Mitchell.

👨‍⚕️ #AltusERCenters Open 24/7, No Lines.
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