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COVID-19 Variants – What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Variants

The following article on COVID-19 Variants is based upon official health sources such as WHO, CDC, and Texas Health & Human Services.  With so much information floating around about the pandemic, we hope to be able to break it down to the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 variants to help clarify a highly complex and quickly changing topic.  We recommend everyone to fact-check anything they hear, see or read with the official healthcare authorities.

Understanding the Variants Video Source: CDC

What is a COVID-19 Variant?

Before we even begin to get into COVID-19 variants, we’ll need to give you a quick biology class to understand what a variant really is.  As long as a virus is transmitted and allowed to thrive from host to host, it is expected to mutate and eventually create new variants.

 

As our human genetic material is called DNA, the virus genetic material is called RNA (ribonucleic acid).  A virus (which is not a living organism) needs to invade a happy and healthy cell in order to reproduce or replicate itself.  When it attacks the cell, it transmits its RNA making it a “sicky cell” and replicates it to basically make more virus-contaminated cells.  As the cells multiply, some errors can occur along the way so that they are not “perfect copies”, these unperfect copies of the original are called mutations.  When enough mutations occur, the strongest ones eventually set themselves apart from the rest (through natural selection) and become the dominant strain, a new variant.  (Source: Tufts University)

 

While there may be many mutations and variants, most will die but the stronger ones that survive can become dominant strains.  In the case of the COVID-19 virus, these are the ones who are being referred to as the “variants of concern”.

COVID-19 Varients of Concern in the US

Now, let’s get to know what the top COVID-19 Variants of Concern are within the US.  Since the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) was officially identified by Chinese authorities on January 7, 2020 (source: WHO), there have been four main variants of concern (source: CDC).

Alpha – B.1.1.7

First Identified: United Kingdom

When: November 2020

Spread: Spreads much faster than other variants

Severe illness and death: May potentially cause more people to get sicker and to die

Vaccine: Currently authorized vaccines do work against this variant. Some breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people are expected but remain rare. All vaccines are particularly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Treatments: Treatments are effective against this variant

Beta – B.1.351

First identified: South Africa

When: October 2020

Spread: May spread faster than other variants

Severe illness and death: Current data do not indicate more severe illness or death than other variants

Vaccine: Currently authorized vaccines do work against this variant. Some breakthrough infections are expected but remain rare. All vaccines are particularly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Treatments: Certain monoclonal antibody treatments are less effective against this variant

Gamma – P.1

First identified: Japan/Brazil

When: 6 January 2021

Spread: Spreads faster than other variants

Severe illness and death: Current data do not indicate more severe illness or death than other variants

Vaccine: Currently authorized vaccines do work against this variant. Some breakthrough infections are expected but remain rare. All vaccines are particularly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Treatments: Certain monoclonal antibody treatments are less effective against this variant

Delta – B.1.617.2

First identified: India

When: Late 2020

Spread: Spreads much faster than other variants

Severe illness and death: May cause more severe cases than the other variants

Vaccine: Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. Some breakthrough infections are expected but remain rare. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. Learn more here. All vaccines are particularly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Treatments: Certain monoclonal antibody treatments are less effective against this variant

Consult the WHO website for an updated list of COVID-19 common, less common, and more severe symptoms.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Is There a Test for a Specific Variant?

You may be wondering, “If I get tested, can they tell which variant I may have?”  The simple answer is, “No” but it’s not that simple.  According to the CDC,

“All COVID-19 tests can detect all variants, but they will not tell you which variant you have.”

 

There are two types of tests:
  • Antigen Tests (Rapid Tests): Involves the detection of protein fragments associated with the virus.
  • PCR (Molecular):  This particular test detects the RNA (virus genetic material as previously described).

 

So basically, if you get an antigen test they cannot determine the specific variant.  However, scientists can track and investigate the COVID-19 variants through genomic sequencing.  As you can see, molecular testing does reveal genetic material that allows researchers to investigate the variants and be on the lookout for new ones.

The CDC answers the question, What is CDC doing to track SARS-COV-2 variants?

 

“In the United States, CDC tracks emerging variants through genomic surveillance with the following approaches:

  • Leading the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) system. Since November 2020, CDC regularly receives SARS-CoV-2 samples from state health departments and other public health agencies for sequencing, further characterization, and evaluation. On January 25, 2021, the NS3 system was scaled up to process 750 samples per week. Notable strengths of this system are the regular collection of numerous representative specimens from across the country and the characterization of viruses beyond what sequencing alone can provide.
  • Partnering with commercial diagnostic laboratories
  • Collaborating with universities
  • Supporting state, territorial, local and tribal health departments
  • Leading the SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology, and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium”

 

Imagine all of the samples that the CDC, commercial diagnostic laboratories, and universities get on a daily basis.  That’s a lot of samples!

This helps give researchers the data to continuously look into the variants.  You may ask, “Why is genomic surveillance important for public health?”  Now that we have a good idea about what a variant of concern is, we can talk about the Variant of High Consequence.

What is a Variant of High Consequence?

Right now, the term, “variant of high consequence” is not circulating through the news.  We hope and pray that it never does.  While a variant of concern is basically what it says, causes concern but there are vaccines and treatments available, in the case of a variant of high consequence, there is none.

This would be a variant that would force scientists back to square one to find a new vaccine and treatments.

In other words, a variant of high consequence would render our current countermeasures useless. 

The CDC describes it as follows:

  • Demonstrated failure of diagnostic test targets
  • Evidence to suggest a significant reduction in vaccine effectiveness, a disproportionately high number of vaccine breakthrough cases, or very low vaccine-induced protection against severe disease
  • Significantly reduced susceptibility to multiple Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or approved therapeutics
  • More severe clinical disease and increased hospitalizations
The good news is that currently there are no COVID-19 Variants of High Consequence.

Source: CDC

However, as it is in its nature, as long as the virus continues to spread, it will most likely continue to mutate into other forms of variants.  Some of the COVID-19 future variants may potentially be much more dangerous than the current variants.

Now is the time to prevent the rise of a COVID-19 Variant of High Consequence.

If you are presently unvaccinated, please take the time to read and educate yourself on the current overcrowded hospitals with so many unvaccinated suffering from severe COVID-19 complications. Vaccines in the US are highly effective, including against all variants including the Delta which is the strongest variant of interest in the US today.

“The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant.” – Source CDC.

For those who are fully vaccinated, if you live or visit a place that is of high transmission you should consider wearing a face mask while indoors to avoid the spread.  To find out the transmission rating of your county, visit the CDC’s COVID Integrated County View.

Together We Can Stop the Spread

At Altus Emergency, we have been through natural disasters and now the pandemic without having closed our doors even once.  It is during these harsh times that we dive into the cause wholeheartedly.

With hospitals being severely overcrowded and emergency rooms closing, we put everything into helping our communities, day in and day out.  This has been a rough time for everyone, we hope and pray that if we all work together to help educate our communities, we can help put an end to this pandemic.  Please keep in mind that the unvaccinated are the most at risk for severe complications of all COVID-19 variants. 

According to health authorities, “Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.”  Putting an end to this pandemic is in all of our hands.

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 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to care for you and your family 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. 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!

Back to School Tips for 2021

Back to School Tips for 2021

In honor of parents all over Texas who are scrambling to get their kids ready for school, here are some Back to School Tips for 2021.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our daily life and the start of the new school year just a few weeks ahead, stress levels are running high for both parents and children.  Now with the COVID-19 Delta variant, parents need all of the help they can get.

School districts continue to weigh learning options for this school year, and we still don’t know when things will be back to normal. However, there are steps you can take as a parent to help prepare your children for in-person classes.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Get to Know About the Delta Variant

The first of our Back to School Tips for 2021 is to get to know more about the Delta variant.  This most recent COVID-19 mutation or variant has quickly become the dominant strain accounting for more than 93% of all new COVID-19 cases in the US. (Source: CDC).

One of the reasons for Delta’s expansion according to the CDC, is that it’s twice as contagious as the previous COVID-19 strains. 

Another reason for its quick rise is that recent studies have shown that the Delta virus is stronger, packing 1000 times the “viral load” than previous COVID variants. As a result, the unvaccinated have been the worst hit and have overrun hospitals and emergency rooms all over Texas.  According to the latest data from Becker’s Hospital Review, during the last 14 days,

Texas hospitals have experienced a 102% increase in COVID-19 hospitalization rates with every 30 out of 100 hospitalizations being COVID-19 related.

With this knowledge in mind, it is important for parents to take the insertion of the Delta variant into consideration when sending their children back to school.

RSV Cases Are Still On the Rise

Hospital overcrowding leads us to our next of the Back to School Tips for 2021.  In our recent news article, CDC WARNING: Rise in RSV Cases in Children and Adults, we alerted our communities on the recent out-of-season spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus which if left untreated can be deadly. Like most respiratory viruses, RSV is spread by touching an infected surface and by air. In fact, the virus can survive on hard surfaces for many hours. Once infected with RSV, a healthy individual can remain contagious for 3-8 days. However, in some cases, “individuals can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks.” Source: CDC.

RSV Symptoms

It is vital to know how to recognize RSV signs and symptoms.  These tend to show up within 4-6 days and usually appear in stages.  “In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.” Source CDC.   The following are the most common RSV signs and symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing & Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing

Should you or a loved one exhibit any of these RSV symptoms (which do not come all at once), visit your local Altus location to have it evaluated by an ER physician and avoid possible complications.

 

RSV Complications in Infants and Children according to the CDC:

  • Bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung)
  • Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)

Considering that hospitals are packed full, it is important that parents take all necessary steps to safeguard their children from the RSV virus.

Pediatric Emergencies Capability

Texas Schools Reopening Guidelines

Now that we have discussed the current health situation, the next of our Back to School Tips for 2021 is to get to know the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) reopening guidelines to know what to expect.  According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) new COVID-19 health guidance :

  • Children are not required to wear facemasks (this is entirely optional)
  • Texas schools are not required to inform parents of positive COVID cases (contact tracing)
  • They are required to notify the Texas Department of State Health Services authorities
  • They are required to notify the parents of the children who came into close contact with the COVID-positive child or teacher.
  • They are required to exclude the child from classes and remote learning for up to 20 days.
  • “For individuals who are determined to be close contacts, a 14-day stay-at-home period was previously advised by the CDC based on the incubation period of the virus” or they may end the period sooner having received “a negative result from a PCR acute infection test.”

If Kids Get Infected with Delta, Are They at Serious Risk?

The following was passed along by the Texas Department of State Health Services from the CDC Stance on the Delta Variant as of July 2021.  Source: CDC Update on COVID-19

“Most children who get COVID19 have less symptoms than adults. However, the Delta variant is more transmissible than other variants, therefore protection against exposure is more important than ever, especially among those who are unvaccinated or too young to be vaccinated.

  • We knowbased on national antibody studiesthat children experience COVID19 infection, even if they have had fewer symptoms. National seroprevalence data show that children (age 017) have the highest level of antibodies of any age group (27.8%).
  • CDC recommends that parents take appropriate protective actions, such as having children older than age 2 who are unvaccinated wear masks in public indoor settings.”

In other words, although children that had been exposed to the virus experienced “low transmission rates”, the data was derived from previous COVID-19 variants and not the Delta.  As children tend to be either asymptomatic or very mild symptoms, they are still potential transmitters of the virus and can endanger those who have not been vaccinated.  For this reason, the most important of our Back to School Tips for 2021 are for parents to take the necessary steps to help prevent and protect their children and their communities.

Teach Them How They Can Stay Safe

Kids are more aware of their surroundings than many of us think. They can feel the stress and anxiety of grownups, and they see the news. The problem is that they don’t always understand why things happen.

For this reason, it’s important to teach our kids, especially the smaller ones, how harmful germs spread, and how they can make us sick. The critical point, however, is also to teach them how they can keep themselves safe.

So, while you explain that virus and bacteria can enter their system when they touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands, you also explain what they can do to keep safe.

  • Help them create the habit of washing their hands with soap and water regularly. You can make up a fun song together or teach them how to blow soap bubbles while they wash their hands.
  • Explain why they shouldn’t touch their faces (eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands. No need to scare them, simply remind them of how much fun they missed out on the last time they were sick.
  • Teach them about social distancing. Personal boundaries are hard to understand for most kids, but as we get used to our new normal, teaching them about personal space is vital. Find creative ways for them to express how much they care about a classmate or teacher that doesn’t involve hugging or close contact.

While PPE is completely optional in Texas, for those parents who consider following the CDC’s recommendations, here are some tips on facemasks:

  • Not sharing is caring. Children need to understand that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) cannot be shared with anyone else. You don’t want to send your child to school with a Superman face mask only to have them return home with a Spiderman face mask.
  • Instruct them on the proper way to wear PPE. Show your kids how to put on their face coverings, and how to remove them safely. Insist they always wash their hands before putting on or taking off their PPE

Other tips for preventing the spread of viruses:

  • For current COVID-19 case counts across Texas, please visit the Department of State Health Services dashboard.  If you are in a “hot spot” you will have a greater chance of exposure and transmission.
  • Set up a mom’s network.  While the schools may not be broadly reporting the COVID cases, a mom’s chat network can help keep parents informed.
  • For parents with older kids (ages 12 and up), many school districts are hosting back-to-school COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Should you wish to get your teen vaccinated, contact your local school district to find out which one may be near you.
  • For younger children, parents may opt to “cocoon them in” which means that they take the steps to ensure that everyone in their close proximity is vaccinated and when they are around others who are not, they consider wearing facemasks and social distancing.

Positive Outlook

Kids don’t all feel the same way about school. Some love it and others not so much.

As parents, it’s important to point out the positive aspects of going to school. Bring up the friendship bonds they’ve developed at school, and always try to link their studies to their interests.

Most importantly, listen to your child. Talk openly about their concerns and fears about returning to school and reassure them that both you and their teachers will do everything you can to keep them safe.

How to Prepare Your Children to Go Back to School

Schedule Check-Ups in Advance

Don’t leave your kids’ medical checkups for last. Call your doctor to schedule a routine checkup well ahead of the start of face to face classes. This way, you will have time to treat any minor condition that can compromise your child’s health at school.

Stay Informed

Health and safety guidelines are continually changing, depending on how COVID-19 is spreading through our communities.

Therefore, establish communication channels with teachers, principals, and other parents to ensure you are up to date with all safety measures.  Please keep in mind that as long as their are transmissions, the COVID-19 virus will continue to mutate.  Together, we can help end the spread!

At Altus Emergency Centers, we know how much you love your children and how you always want what is best for them. That is why all our centers have special pediatric examining rooms, and medical professionals to treat your child when necessary.

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, Let’s Prepare!

Flu Season Is Here, Let’s Prepare!

The turn of the season signals the start of the flu season, an illness we should we never take lightly. However, this year we need to prepare even better as we are still battling a pandemic.

Because COVID-19 is still spreading in our communities, we need to do our best to reduce the spread of other respiratory illnesses like the flu.

The Impact of Flu Season in America

Per CDC estimates, last year’s flu season resulted in:

  • 38 million illnesses
  • 18 million doctor visits
  • 405,000 hospitalizations
  • 22,000 flu-related deaths

Although some groups are more vulnerable than others, the truth is that the influenza virus affects all age groups. For example, last season, the most affected age groups were young children (0-4 years) and adults ranging from 18 to 49.

The Flu, A Cold, Or COVID-19, How to Tell the Difference

Different respiratory viruses cause the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19, but they share some symptoms.

The following chart can help you differentiate the symptoms. However, it’s important to always speak to your doctor if you have severe respiratory symptoms or if you think you may have COVID-19.

Symptoms

Covid-19

Symptoms Can Range from Mild to Severe

Common Cold

Gradual Onset of Symptoms

The Flu

Abrupt Onset of Symptoms

Fever

Common

Rare

Common

Cough

Common

Common

Common

Sore Throat

Sometimes

Common

Common

Shortness of Breath

Sometimes (with mild/moderate infection)

No

No

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Sometimes

New Loss of Smell or Taste

Common

Common

Common

Aches and Pains

Sometimes

Sometimes

Common

Headaches

Sometimes

Common

Sometimes

Diarrhea

Rare

No

Sometimes (especially in children)

Sneezing

No

Common

Sometimes

COVID-19 Common Cold or The Flu

You Can Help Prevent the Flu

This year, Altus Emergency Centers is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention #FightFlu campaign to help stop the influenza virus spread.

Preventing the flu starts with each of us, so here is how we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe:

 

Get Vaccinated!

Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first line of defense. This year more than ever, it would be best if you got yourself and your family vaccinated.

The CDC recommends everyone 6-months or older get an annual flu vaccine. Together we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.

 

Wash Your Hands

By now, we’ve all gotten into the excellent habit of washing our hands frequently. Harmful bacteria and viruses thrive on surfaces and objects that our hands come in contact with. If we touch our eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands, these germs can enter our bodies and make us sick.

The more often we wash our hands, the less risk we have of getting sick.

 

Keep Your Distance

Like the novel coronavirus, the influenza virus spreads through tiny droplets expelled when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes.

Keeping a physical distance of at least 6-feet between you and others will help reduce the risk of getting the virus.

 

Continue to Wear a Mask in Public

Using a mask in public helps reduce the number of droplets we expel. The more people wear them, the less risk we all have of getting infected.

 

If You Get Sick, Speak to Your Doctor About Antivirals

If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications. Although they won’t cure, these medicines can reduce symptoms, make illness milder, and shorten the time you are sick.

When to Visit Altus Emergency Center

If you happen to get sick with the flu, you should monitor your symptoms. If they are mild to moderate, you won’t need to visit the ER. However, should you develop any of the following signs, you should immediately come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center.

Influenza is a serious viral respiratory illness that should never be left untreated, as it can quickly develop into other more severe conditions.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or severe abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Vomiting that won’t stop

 

Altus Emergency Centers is committed to helping our communities stay healthy. We are open 24 hours every day of the year. Rest assured, our facilities follow strict sanitazing protocols to ensure all our patients’ safety.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

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!

Stay in Shape Safely During the Pandemic

Stay in Shape Safely During the Pandemic

These past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions brought on by the public health crisis our nation is facing.

Most of us have gone through initial feelings of concern to now feeling anxious, frustrated, sad, and even angry with the situation. And these feelings are not only affecting adults; they are impacting our children as well.

While the extensive physical distancing policies put in place to the slow the spread of COVID-19 are necessary, our bodies and minds still need exercise to stay healthy.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

The Benefits of Exercise

There is a direct relationship between health, diet, and exercise. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential when it comes to our physical, mental, and even social well-being. Yet regular physical activity is equally important.

Having a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of developing chronic diseases and permanent loss of movement. Additionally, a lack of physical activity can also harm our immune health and lead to weight gain.

On the other hand, regular aerobic exercise helps improve our mood, boost our confidence and self-image, improve our sleep quality, and relieve stress.

For these reasons, keeping active during the coronavirus pandemic is essential.

Tips for The Whole Family to Exercise at Home

When you think of starting a workout routine at home, you should also consider including your children. Physical activity has proven to improve a child’s physical health, as well as provide cognitive and emotional benefits, including enhancing their attention span and mental and emotional well-being.

Set Realistic Goals

 

Sure, most of us wish we could compete in a triathlon or become a high performing athlete. But one of the top reasons starting a workout routine fails is because we set unrealistic goals.

Setting unattainable short-term goals can crush your family’s motivation. So, start by setting small, easily attainable goals. Make sure to include your kids in the conversation to learn what they wish to attain.

 

Here are some examples of easy goals to set when you first begin:

  • Go for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood as a family at least five days a week. You can increase the length of your outings progressively.
  • Do three sets of 15 jumping jacks or squats every day. Increase the number the sets as your physical condition improves
  • Hold a plank position for 30 seconds, increase this progressively and make it a competition to see who can hold it the longest

 

If your primary purpose is to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of saying I want to lose 50, 60, or 100 pounds. Slow, steady weight loss provides the most benefits, and it can help you keep the weight off longer.

A good starting point is to set a monthly weight loss goal of 5-10 pounds. Meaning you will lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is very achievable.

The practice of setting small achievable goals can help motivate you and your family and start you on the path of creating long-term healthy habits.

Stay in Shape Safely During the Pandemic

Make it Fun

 

Most of us think of exercise as a necessary evil. We’ve programmed ourselves to think of it as an unpleasant chore on our to-do lists.

But physical activity should and can be fun and enjoyable for everyone in the family. The first thing you should do is add variety to your workouts. If you always do the same exercises, then you will get bored, so include both outdoor and indoor activities. From riding a bike, walking, or swimming if you have a pool, to joining an online workout program you can do from home.

Make sure to include activities that promote flexibility and stretching, as this can help increase your balance and prevent injuries.

 

Here Are Some Ideas for At Home Physical Activities for You and Your Kids

  • Exercises that use your body weight, such as push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and mountain climbers
  • Yoga
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Dancing – Put on your favorite songs and do a dance-off
  • Balancing on one foot – Helps improve balance and muscle strength
  • Hopscotch -You can either use tape or chalk on your floor, driveway, or patio
  • Fill up a balloon or beach ball and don’t let it touch the ground
  • Crab walk or bear crawl races
  • Jump rope
  • Do a Hula Hoop contest

 

Pace Yourself

 

To help prevent injuries, we recommend you start slow and increase both the length and intensity of your workouts progressively.

Trying to do too much at once not only increases your risk of getting injured it can also frustrate your efforts.

Stay in Shape Safely During the Pandemic

Common Exercise Injuries and What to Do About Them

It’s worth mentioning that a workout injury can happen to anyone. Regardless if you are starting or if you are avid gym-goer injuries are part of life so don’t get discouraged if you suffer one.

 

Common workout injuries include:

  • Muscle pull and strain
  • Sprained ankle
  • Wrist sprain or dislocation
  • Shin splint
  • Shoulder injury
  • Knee injuries
  • Tendinitis

If you or your kids get injured while exercising and you experience severe pain, difficulty moving the joint, or have acute inflammation, don’t wait. Visit the nearest Altus Emergency Center to be evaluated by a physician.

 

All our centers are open, and we follow strict safety protocols. When you visit us, you are in the best hands.

Stay in Shape Safely During the Pandemic

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!

How to Prepare Your Children to Go Back to School

How to Prepare Your Children to Go Back to School

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our daily life and the start of the new school year just a few weeks ahead, stress levels are running high for both parents and children.

School districts continue to weigh learning options for this school year, and we still don’t know when our kids will be back in the classroom. However, there are steps you can take as a parent to help prepare your children for in-person classes.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Structure Your Children’s Day

The first few weeks of school can be chaotic as kids learn to adjust to their new routines. Start by setting a wake-up and sleep time that applies to school days. This way, you can gradually teach your children to wake up earlier and go to bed at the same time every night.

When you wake them up in the morning, have them get dressed and eat breakfast as if they had to go to school.

Also, help your kids plan their day. Establish a schedule for them that includes chores, physical activities, study, and playtime.

Positive Outlook

Kids don’t all feel the same way about school. Some love it and others not so much.

As parents, it’s important to point out the positive aspects of going to school. Bring up the friendship bonds they’ve developed at school, and always try to link their studies to their interests.

Most importantly, listen to your child. Talk openly about their concerns and fears about returning to school and reassure them that both you and their teachers will do everything you can to keep them safe.

How to Prepare Your Children to Go Back to School

Teach Them How They Can Stay Safe

Kids are more aware of their surroundings than many of us think. They can feel the stress and anxiety of grownups, and they see the news. The problem is that they don’t always understand why things happen.

For this reason, it’s important to teach our kids, especially the smaller ones, how harmful germs spread, and how they can make us sick. The critical point, however, is also to teach them how they can keep themselves safe.

So, while you explain that virus and bacteria can enter their system when they touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands, you also explain what they can do to keep safe.

  • Help them create the habit of washing their hands with soap and water regularly. You can make up a fun song together or teach them how to blow soap bubbles while they wash their hands.
  • Explain why they shouldn’t touch their faces (eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands. No need to scare them, simply remind them of how much fun they missed out on the last time they were sick.
  • Teach them about social distancing. Personal boundaries are hard to understand for most kids, but as we get used to our new normal, teaching them about personal space is vital. Find creative ways for them to express how much they care about a classmate or teacher that doesn’t involve hugging or close contact.
  • Not sharing is caring. Children need to understand that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) cannot be shared with anyone else. You don’t want to send your child to school with a Superman face mask only to have them return home with a Spiderman face mask.
  • Instruct them on the proper way to wear PPE. Show your kids how to put on their face coverings, and how to remove them safely. Insist they always wash their hands before putting on or taking off their PPE
How to Prepare Your Children to Go Back to School

Schedule Check-Ups in Advance

Don’t leave your kids’ medical checkups for last. Call your doctor to schedule a routine checkup well ahead of the start of face to face classes. This way, you will have time to treat any minor condition that can compromise your child’s health at school.

Stay Informed

Health and safety guidelines are continually changing, depending on how COVID-19 is spreading through our communities.

Therefore, establish communication channels with teachers, principals, and other parents to ensure you are up to date with all safety measures.

At Altus Emergency Centers, we know how much you love your children and how you always want what is best for them. That is why all our centers have special pediatric examining rooms, and medical professionals to treat your child when necessary.

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!

COVID-19, Common Cold or The Flu? How to Tell the Difference

COVID-19, Common Cold or The Flu? How to Tell the Difference

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives, many of us are feeling on edge, and the slightest symptom makes us wonder if we’ve contracted COVID-19.

The common cold, the flu, and COVID-19 are all respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, and some of the symptoms can be very similar. So how do you know which one you have?

Here, we will show the differences so you can know when you need to seek medical help.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

What Causes the Common Cold, The Flu, And COVID-19

The first similarity between all these illnesses is that they are all caused by viruses.

 

Common Cold: The reason we call colds the common cold is that numerous viruses can cause it making it an easy illness to get.

Some of the viruses responsible for the common cold include:

  • The rhinovirus
  • Human parainfluenza
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Various coronaviruses – But not the one that causes COVID-19 

Viruses, including the coronaviruses responsible for the common cold, produce mild symptoms that include a stuffy nose, sore throat, and headaches.

 

The Flu: The influenza virus is what causes the flu. There are many variations of the influenza virus, all of which can cause seasonal viral respiratory infections in your nose, throat, and lungs.

For most, the flu causes mild to moderate symptoms that resolve themselves in two weeks or less. However, some patients can develop serious complications that result in pneumonia and possibly death.

 

COVID-19: The strain of coronavirus responsible for the illness, now known as COVID-19, is new. Scientists have named this new strain as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2  or SARS-CoV-2.

The symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are much more severe, resulting in high persistent fevers, cough, trouble breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.

Comparing the Symptoms of the Common Cold, The Flu, and COVID-19

The following symptom chart can help you decide if you have a common cold, the flu, or COVID-19. This list of symptoms, however, is not definitive and should only be used as a guide. If you suspect you have COVID-19, please call your doctor or visit one of our centers as soon as possible.

Symptoms

Covid-19

Symptoms Can Range from Mild to Severe

Common Cold

Gradual Onset of Symptoms

The Flu

Abrupt Onset of Symptoms

Fever

Common

Rare

Common

Cough

Common

Common

Common

Sore Throat

Sometimes

Common

Common

Shortness of Breath

Sometimes (with mild/moderate infection)

No

No

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Sometimes

New Loss of Smell or Taste

Common

Common

Common

Aches and Pains

Sometimes

Sometimes

Common

Headaches

Sometimes

Common

Sometimes

Diarrhea

Rare

No

Sometimes (especially in children)

Sneezing

No

Common

Sometimes

COVID-19 Common Cold or The Flu

How Can You Be Sure if Your Symptoms Are Those of COVID-19?

Because symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19 can overlap, it can be challenging to know when you should worry, and when you shouldn’t.

If you do have COVID-19, prompt diagnosis and treatment can help lower your risk of developing complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a COVID-19 self-checker to help you know when to seek medical attention.

If your self-assessment indicates, a doctor should examine you, call the nearest Altus Emergency Center or use our online check-in form. You will receive a free medical evaluation, and you decide when and where to get tested should you need to.

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!

Recent Signs & Symptoms of COVID-19

Signs & Symptoms of COVID-19

The new coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in some of our communities. By now, most of us know someone who is directly affected by COVID-19, which can raise our levels of anxiety with good reason.

With so much information going around social media, many of us feel at a loss. With the virus continually mutating, and new research becoming available almost every day, the questions linger. How can we know if we have the virus, which are the signs and symptoms to look for before we reach out for help?

At Altus Emergency Centers, we highly recommend you get your information from official sites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Here we will try to provide you with the most common signs of symptoms of COVID-19 so you can do an initial self-assessment so you can know when to seek medical help.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Early Signs of COVID-19

Although there is no specific order in which symptoms can manifest, some of the most common early signs of infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness

Common Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or feeling congested
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

More Recently Discovered Symptoms of COVID-19

Every day as more data becomes available, researchers and doctors are noticing other symptoms of COVID-19.

Some symptoms discovered lately include a new loss of smell or taste and sudden confusion. If you or someone you know develops sudden confusion, you should seek immediate medical help. Sudden confusion could be a sign not only of complications from COVID-19 but also other severe conditions, including stroke.

This past week, researchers in Madrid, Spain, observed tiny round spots in the mouths of COVID-19 patients. These pinpoint round spots called oral petechiae are produced by bleeding blood vessels under the skin.

The patients who showed these lesions also had an external skin rash, which is making dermatologists think this could be a new symptom of COVID-19.

How to Check For COVID-19 Symptoms in Children

Most children experience milder symptoms compared to adults, but some children do develop severe complications from COVID-19. Therefore, you should not underestimate the potential danger to children or wait too long to get medical help when needed.

 

The main symptoms of the novel coronavirus to for in children are:

  • A high fever. Children will feel hot to the touch in the chest or back areas
  • A new, continuous cough. This means frequently coughing for more than one hour or experiencing more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Fatigue. Your child may seem lethargic or weak

When to Seek Medical Help

If you know you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the virus, don’t rush to get tested right away.

The virus takes anywhere from 2 to 14 days to incubate, so if you test too early, you may get a false negative result.

If you think you may have the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, self-isolate in your home. If you live with others, confine yourself to one room or side of your home. Don’t let anyone else use the same plates, utensils, or glasses that you are using to prevent spreading the virus.

Call your doctor if you develop any of the symptoms listed above. If you need to come to our ER, we will be happy to treat you. All we ask is that you call ahead so we can take precautions to protect our staff and other patients.

 

You should seek immediate medical help if you develop any of these symptoms:

  • Prolonged or severe trouble breathing
  • Persistent pressure or pain in the chest area
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Confusion
  • Blue lips or face

Altus Emergency Centers are available to treat all patients regardless of symptoms.

We provide a free medical evaluation to all patients who visit us. Based on that medical assessment, our doctors will recommend the best treatment options for you and your family.

We are here for all of you if and when you need us!

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!

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