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How to Keep Young Children Safe from Omicron

How to Keep Young Children Safe from Omicron

Waves of COVID-19 continue to batter the country leaving parents with small children wondering how best to keep their kids safe.

The coronavirus continues to mutate; the current dominant variant is called Omicron. Although it produces milder illness in many cases, it is still straining hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Additionally, Omicron is affecting children more than previous variants.

According to COVID-NET, the hospitalization rate for the week ending on Jan 22 for children aged 0-4 who are still not eligible for the vaccine was 7.1 per 100,000. While the rate for children aged 5-17 was 2.2 per 100,000. Even though these numbers are higher than those seen in past months, the good news is that data shows the hospitalization rate going down.

However, new variants continue to appear; this week, scientists said they were studying a new sub-variant of Omicron detected in various states known as BA. 2.

We still don’t know much about BA. 2, including whether it causes more severe symptoms and spreads faster than other variants or which population is most at risk. Therefore, as parents, we must continue to protect our children.

The increase in pediatric Omicron illnesses and hospitalizations is naturally a source of anxiety if you are a parent. Still, there are ways to help reduce your child’s risk of infection. Here are a few ways you can help keep your children safe from Omicron.

Get Vaccinated

If you have children under the age of 5, one way to help keep them safe is to make sure that all adults and children age five and up in the family are fully vaccinated.

Check Your Children’s Risk Factors

Your family is unique, and therefore the risk factors for your children can be different. However, here are some considerations for you to take into account:

  • Are any of your children immunocompromised, or do they have any illnesses that could increase their risk for severe COVID-19 disease?
  • Are your children under the age of five and therefore not eligible for the vaccine?
  • Are your kids attending in-person classes at school, or do they go to daycare?

Keep in mind that the more contact your children have with people outside of your family, the greater their chances of catching a virus, be it the flu or the coronavirus

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Speak to Your Children

It’s not always easy to explain to small children what is happening, especially when safety guidelines are changing all the time.

But children are fast learners, and they have an enormous capacity to adapt, so don’t underestimate them.

There are several children’s books that can help you approach the subject and make it easier for your kids to understand what is going on.

You can download some of these books for free from The American Psychological Association (APA) website. To check them out, click here.

Continue to Follow All Safety Measures

Teach your children the importance of washing their hands and why they should never touch their faces or eat with dirty hands.

It’s also a good idea to teach them not to share eating utensils or drink out of other children’s glasses. This habit can keep them safe from many illnesses, not just COVID-19.

Buy them size-appropriate masks to wear when safe social distancing is not possible.

Want to Know More About the Omicron Variant?

Altus Emergency Centers will continue to be here for the community helping to save lives. However, we urge you to please do what is in your power to keep your family safe. Remember, prevention is always the best option.

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!

Never Fear a Surprise Bill Again!

Never Fear a Surprise Bill Again!

As the new year rolls in, the “No Surprises Act” consumer protection law will go into effect. This legislation bans most unexpected medical charges from out-of-network providers.

At Altus Emergency Centers, we are thrilled about this news and applaud lawmakers’ efforts to protect patients from unfair charges.

As you all know, at Altus, we implemented a no surprise bill policy more than a year ago. Since then, none of our patients have received a surprise.

However, no matter how hard we try, we cannot control everything the insurance companies do. Unfortunately, some of them have unlawfully tried to charge patients for emergency services.

We want to help you know what to do in these cases, so you never have to fear getting the medical treatment you need.

What is a Surprise Bill?

A surprise medical bill is when you unknowingly receive medical care from a provider outside your private insurer network. For example, in many hospitals and emergency rooms, the specialists who treat patients are not employees but contractors who charge their fees separately. As a patient, you are not aware of this, which is why many people receive a bill they were not expecting after going to the ER.

What Will the Surprise Medical Bill Protections Do for You?

The protections will work similarly to those established by the state of Texas. The new federal rules will apply to all private insurers, even those provided through the Affordable Care Act.

With this new law, you should not receive a surprise medical bill from the following scenarios:

  • When you get treated at the ER
  • Air ambulance services (airplane or helicopter)

Insurance companies must also provide the same coverage regardless of whether you receive medical attention at an in-network or out-of-network facility.

The Law Has Always Been On Your Side

In a perfect world, your insurance company would be your best friend, always looking out for your best interest. But the reality is that insurers increasingly deny coverage for your emergency care.

If this should ever happen to you, please reach out to our Patient Advocate; we can help you get the coverage you are entitled to.

You should know that even before the “No Surprises Act” existed, the law already protected you through the Prudent Layperson Standard. This standard says that YOU get to decide when and where you seek emergency care based on your symptoms.

Your insurance company cannot force you to go to an in-network ER. They are also not allowed to determine if your symptoms were those of a medical emergency or not.

In other words, if you feel you are having a medical emergency and need to go to the ER, your insurance provider is legally obligated to cover your care.

Recent Updates on the No Surprises Bill As Per the CMS and What It Means to You

Recently, as per the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS.gov, the provider and facility requirements that apply starting January 1st consist in the following:

  • No balance billing for out-of-network emergency services
  • No balance billing for non-emergency services by nonparticipating providers at certain participating health care facilities, unless notice and consent was given in some circumstances
  • Disclose patient protections against balance billing
  • No balance billing for air ambulance services by nonparticipating air ambulance providers
  • Provide good faith estimate in advance of scheduled services, or upon request (for uninsured or self-pay individuals)
  • Ensure continuity of care when a provider’s network status changes
  • Improve provider directories and reimburse enrollees for errors

Find out more information on the background & purpose of the No Surprises Act of Division BB of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) amended title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) to add a new Part E through reading the High-Level Overview of Provider Requirements.

What to Do If You Receive a Surprise Bill

Here at Altus, you will never have a surprise bill!

All services provided at our facilities, including specialists and other ancillary services, will show in the invoice we provide you after your visit. Because we directly employ all our doctors, you will never see a big bill from us.

Should you ever receive a surprise bill from your insurance company after visiting one of our centers, please contact our Patient Advocate immediately.

If you have any questions about the Surprise Bill Act, please feel to call us at: 409-227-0536.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

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!

New Year’s Resolutions – Begin 2022 Off Healthy

New Year’s Resolutions Week – Begin 2022 Off Healthy

At the start of every year, we vow to become a better version of ourselves by setting our New Year’s resolutions.

This tradition may seem silly to some of us. Still, the truth is that incorporating more healthy habits into our everyday life will help us live a longer, healthier, and more enjoyable life.

We all want to improve ourselves but may feel a little at a loss when it comes to living healthier, and that is ok. So, we’ve put together these tips to help you set realistic goals and help you get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Get More Quality Sleep

Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night to be healthy. Yet, according to the CDC, more than a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly.

Getting enough sleep has a direct impact on our daily lives. When you don’t sleep well or sleep too little, you may find it harder to concentrate. You may also fall asleep while at work or driving, increasing your risk of serious accidents and injury.

Additionally, research shows that people who regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep a night have a higher risk of developing chronic medical conditions, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Mental illness, including depression and anxiety

How to Improve the Quantity and Quality of Your Sleep

Here are some tips to help you rock the first of your New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Avoid taking caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon or evening (this includes coffee and caffeinated soft drinks)
  • Turn off your TV and don’t use any electronic devices, including computers, TV, cell phones, video games, and tablets, at least one hour before bedtime

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Become More Organized

Whether you are rushing to drop or pick up your kids from school or extracurricular activities, going to work, grocery shopping, doing house chores, exercising, and caring for family members and pets, your day is busy.

The more hectic your schedule, the more likely you are to prioritize productivity over safety. But, unfortunately, all this running around can lead to physical and emotional burnout, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of accidental injury.

To avoid this, plan your days, so you have plenty of time to get everything done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember it’s ok and sometimes necessary to say no once in a while.

Make Better Food Choices

If you are trying to lose weight, avoid crash diets and diet pills, these will do more harm to your health than you can imagine.

Making healthier food choices can improve your energy levels and help strengthen your immune system.

You don’t need to make drastic changes all at once. Instead, start with small things like:

  • cutting down on sugary drinks and over-processed food
  • Add more veggies and fruits to your daily meals
  • Drink more water and less soda
  • Add more fiber by eating whole wheat bread and crackers
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat

Remember to be mindful of your serving portions. Eat enough to feel satisfied but not overly full. Over time, you will feel more energized, and you may drop a few pounds as well.

Know Where to Go in Case of An Emergency

An emergency can happen when you least expect it. But, when it does, it’s important to know where to go.

Make sure to create a list of emergency phone numbers, including your doctor, emergency services, and Altus Emergency Centers. Put the list in a visible and easily accessible place within your home. Then, teach your kids how to dial the numbers and give directions to your home if necessary.

Altus Emergency Centers offers four convenient locations in Lumberton, Baytown, Waxahachie, and Lake Jackson.

Our qualified medical staff and state-of-the-art facilities are open 24/7 every day of the year.

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!

Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know About the Omicron Variant

The coronavirus is still among us, and new variants continue to appear. For example, the Omicron variant, identified in late November, is now the dominant strain here in the U.S., accounting for more than 73% of nationwide cases.

According to the CDC, Omicron is responsible for up to 90% of new COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country.

Will There Be More SARS-CoV-2 Variants?

Yes. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is constantly changing and mutating its genetic code. As a result, experts expect new variants of SARS-CoV-2 to continue to emerge.

Some variants will quickly disappear, while others will emerge and continue to spread, becoming what is known as a variant of concern.

What Is a Variant of Concern?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a variant of concern as a mutation that can:

  • Spread more easily
  • Cause more severe illness
  • Antibodies from previous infections or acquired from vaccination are not as effective in combating the new variant
  • Current treatments are not as effective against the new variant

Read more about COVID-19 variants, what you need to know.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Is Omicron the Only Variant in the United States Right Now?

Unfortunately, no. While Omicron is spreading faster than any other variant we’ve had in the past, different variants are still circulating.

Although Omicron is the dominant strain of the virus right now, the Delta variant (previously the dominant variant) still accounts for more than 26% of COVID-19 illnesses.

Is Omicron More Severe?

The scientific community continues to study the Omicron variant. As a result, much remains unknown, including if it causes more or less severe illness.

Early studies suggest that current vaccines offer protection against severe illness and death. However, those fully vaccinated will need a booster shot to increase their defenses and avoid Omicron infection.

Who Is Most Affected by Omicron?

Omicron spreads faster than other variants and can infect anyone. However, we’ve seen a significant increase in children testing positive for the new variant in the last weeks.

To put this in perspective, children accounted for 17.3% of total cases since the pandemic began. For the week ending on December 16th, 23.7% of weekly reported COVID-19 cases were children 18 or younger.

More concerning is the fact that pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 are surging, with close to 800 new daily admissions.

Public health officials are especially concerned about small children aged five and younger who are not eligible for the vaccine against COVID-19.

Early reports from South Africa and the United Kingdom show a bump in hospital admissions for that age group. And although we don’t know for sure if this trend will continue in America, extra precautions to safeguard young children from infection need to take place.

Can I Get Omicron if I’ve Already Had COVID-19 or I’m Vaccinated?

Yes, you can get infected with Omicron even if you have antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection or if you have been vaccinated.

There are several reasons for this. First, the vaccines reduce your risk of developing severe illness and reduce your risk of dying from COVID-19, but they don’t prevent infections.

Aside from this, the new variant Omicron has more mutations than previous strains, making it easier for it to bypass your system’s antibodies.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family From Omicron

The protection measures against Omicron are the same recommended for other variants and include:

  • Continue to wear a mask when out in public
  • Do your best to keep a physical distance of at least 6-feet when out
  • Constantly ventilate rooms when you are indoors
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing in front of others. Remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t
  • Get your booster shot if you are eligible
  • If you believe that you have COVID, get tested

When to Seek Immediate Emergency Care

According to the CDC, seek emergency medical care immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Please keep in mind that this list is not the complete list of warning signs, please seek immediate medical care if you experience other severe symptoms. It is advisable to call ahead or check-in online.

While Omicron seems to cause less severe illness in most patients, it continues to be a threat for vulnerable groups. Because of this, we should all do our part to help keep our community safe.

At Altus Emergency Centers, we continue to work hard to provide the best care for our patients even during these challenging times. Remember, we are safe, fast and always open for you and your family when you most need it.

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!

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

Tricks to Show Your Kids: How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

Clean Hands Save Lives!

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

Does Washing Your Hands Kill COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, practicing proper handwashing techniques has helped save lives.

According to the CDC:

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a frequently touched surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes with unwashed hands. Although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, we are still learning more about how it spreads. Cleaning visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for preventing COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses caused by viruses.”

An easy way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to learn to wash your hands well and when needed.  Let’s get to know when we should wash our hands.

Together We Can Prevent the Spread of COVID-19!

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.

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 are ready to help you get well 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. 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 to when you are personally assisted with the billing process. We are here to help you get well and stay well!

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