Category Archives: Digestive Issues

food poisoning

Upset Stomach? Your Summer Barbecue May Be to Blame

Food poisoning can come from a number of common mistakes. Trying to figure out exactly what made you sick can be just as upsetting as the physical symptoms of food poisoning.

In the summer months especially, barbecues and cookouts are breeding grounds for the latest strains of E.coli, salmonella, and campylobacter. Here are important safety measures to take to protect yourself and your loved ones from food poisoning.

Store Food Properly

Whether it’s meat, sides, or drinks, keep it cool if you’re not cooking or eating them right then and there. The summer heat allows bacteria and insects to fester on any plate that’s not covered and cooled. Keep coolers and refrigerators handy and keep an eye on all exposed foods. It only takes a few seconds for a fly to lay eggs on your plate or for germs to begin multiplying on unstored meat.

To be extra cautious, avoid sharing plates, utensils, and cups — even with your closest companions.

Wash Everything (Except The Chicken)

Statistics show that raw chicken is one of the most dangerous meats when it comes to food poisoning. Washing raw chicken seems like a good idea, but it can actually increase the risk of salmonella and other foodborne germs. The water that splashes around your sink, faucet, and countertops becomes prime real estate for germs to spread. If you want to be extra sure that all germs are cooked out of your meats, consider pre-baking before grilling.

Surfaces should also be washed and rinsed before, between and after all food prep and cooking. Salmonella can easily be transmitted on a kitchen counter, sink or cooking surface if you don’t stay alert. And of course, always wash your hands with soap and hot water throughout the prep and cooking process.

food poisoning symptomsTurn Up The Heat

Keep a thermometer handy to avoid under or overcooking your summer feast. And always think before you eat anything pink. Rare steaks are OK, as long as they are heated to the proper temperature, but avoid undercooked burgers, seafood, pork, and chicken. Pre-baking and broiling your meat in a safe kitchen environment will go a long way in preventing contamination. Refer to a meat temperature chart for exact directions.

Know The Signs Of Food Poisoning

Common food poisoning symptoms include stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Here are some of the signs of the most frequently reported food-borne germs:

Campylobacter – Diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain within two to five days.

Salmonella – Diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever within 12 to 72 hours.

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) – Stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting within 30 minutes to six hours.

E. coli (Escherichia coli) – Severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Around five to 10 percent of people diagnosed with this infection develop a life-threatening complication within three to four days.

Cyclospora – Diarrhea (watery), appetite loss, weight loss, cramps, stomach pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and fatigue within one week.

signs of food poisoningFeel Like You Have Food Poisoning? Visit the UrgentMED Network

All 17 of UrgentMED Network’s convenient walk-in urgent care clinics treat your emergencies with urgency and special care. With licensed-physicians available seven days a week, we will get you in and out with weekday, weeknight, and weekend hours, without creating another headache. 

For patients who can’t afford to be patient with their health, UrgentMED is the go-to source for urgent care and information.

Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits

Five Reasons for Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits

A gathering of family and friends, sharing laughs and stories over an impressive food festival, Thanksgiving is undeniably one of the most popular holidays.  But it’s also one of the most popular days of the year, if not THE MOST popular day of the year for urgent care visits. Everything from food poisoning to burns to overindulging can bring the holiday to a close for many people.  We’re all about injury prevention here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network. We want you to have a drama-free holiday, which is why we’re sharing this guide with you – Five Reasons for Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits.

Knife Injury ThanksgivingKnife Injuries Are Common on Thanksgiving

When you’re carving a turkey or chopping veggies, anything can go wrong.  Knife injuries top the list. Be sure to focus on what you’re doing, and putting your bird on a non-skid cutting board also helps. If you are hurt while slicing your food, the walk-in clinics that make up the UrgentMED network can help.  We’ll treat you and have you back in time for dessert.

Alcohol Consumption

Is it really necessary to have both a glass of red and white wine? Thanksgiving presents the perfect backdrop for “social drinking” – even to a fault, with some people drinking too much, and ending up at urgent care. If you’re going to drink, be sure to also drink lots of water, which helps dilute the effect of alcohol. Do not drink and drive. Traffic fatalities involving alcohol increase tremendously during the holidays.

Don’t Overindulge on the Wrong Thanksgiving Foods

Do you get stuffed on Thanksgiving?  If so, you’re not alone. Many of us throw caution to the wind on Thanksgiving when it comes to our food choices, and the term “pigging-out” becomes the norm. But people with high blood pressure, diabetics, or even people with high cholesterol, for example, can easily over-indulge, triggering medical issues that can send them to urgent care.  People allergic to certain foods, can also “get caught up” in the day – many unknowingly devouring foods that trigger a major reaction. If you’re not sure what’s in a dish, ask the host about it. Be careful!

Don’t Get Burned

Not surprisingly burns are another culprit that keeps urgent care medical staffers busy on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Burn Injury According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, and recommend you take the following precautions:

    • Never leave the stove unattended and always keep an eye on your dishes
    • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and keep flammables away from hot ranges or ovens
    • Keep children and pets away from hot stove tops
    • Turn pan handles to the back and away from the front of the range
  • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen

Be careful when using your turkey fryer. Many people get burned from misusing them. And as a precaution, do not overfill the oil or leave your turkey fryer unattended, and use the fryer outside and away from your home.

You can treat minor burns at home with a burn cream and loose bandage. But if your burn bubbles or blisters, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.

Food Poisoning is a Huge Culprit

Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and more bacteria and viruses cause lots of illnessessometimes death.  Recently, Salmonella has been making the news cycles. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)  has linked a nationwide salmonella outbreak to raw turkey. Yes – turkey- the star of Thanksgiving, just a few weeks before it’s special day.

Salmonella Prevention

Here are some steps you can take to prevent Salmonella infection when handling your big bird, courtesy of the CPSC:

    • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, not on the counter
    • Handle raw turkey carefully; always wash your hands after handling raw turkey
  • Cook your turkey thoroughly – to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning

Keep an eye out for illness. People get sick from Salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms, get to an urgent care location near you, immediately.

UrgentMED is Here for You on Thanksgiving

We hope our guide helps you and your family stay safe over the holiday and beyond – with no medical emergencies.  But if you need to make a Thanksgiving Day urgent care visit, we’re nearby. With 15 locations, UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We provide a wide variety of medical services: diagnostic testing, surgical and non-surgical procedures, and specialized care. We can help.  Here’s to a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday!

gastric sleeve versus lap-band surgery

Gastric Sleeve And Lap Band Surgery: Your Weight Loss Options

The Gastric Sleeve and Lap-Band surgeries are two serious types of bariatric weight loss procedures for the morbidly obese. Patients interested in undergoing one of these two procedures sometimes get stumped by all of the different considerations. They don’t know which surgery to choose and leave overwhelmed and unable to move forward. If this includes you, don’t worry! The UrgentMED Network is here to help. 

What are your weight loss options? Here’s our guide on Gastric Sleeve versus Lap-Band surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A Gastric Sleeve (aka “sleeve gastrectomy”) is a restrictive bariatric surgery designed to help patients lose weight. The procedure restricts the amount of food you can eat via reducing the size of your stomach.

In a Gastric Sleeve surgery, a large portion of your stomach is removed leaving you a new, smaller stomach which is about the size of a banana (1/10th the size of your original stomach). Your newer, smaller stomach size will effectively limit the amount of food you’re physically able to eat. After the surgery, you’ll be restricted to eating a number of small meals throughout the day (3-5 recommended per day). Another one of the surgery’s major benefits is that it will increase your feeling of fullness (i.e. it will make you feel fuller for longer). Food is absorbed normally after the procedure because, unlike a gastric bypass, during a Gastric Sleeve surgery, your intestines and the digestive system still function as usual. The surgery also removes the part of your stomach that makes a hormone that boosts your appetite, ensuring that the new size of your stomach is properly matched to feelings of hunger.

medical clinic southern california

How Gastric Sleeve Surgeries Are Performed

Prior to undergoing a Gastric Sleeve surgery patients are put to sleep via a general anesthetic. A sleeve gastrectomy is normally done using a tiny camera called a laparoscope that is placed in your stomach and allows your surgeon to see inside your stomach. Your surgeon will make several incisions on your abdomen in order to remove a large portion of your stomach. Finally, the remaining portions of your stomach are joined together with surgical staples. The procedure takes anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes in total.

Most candidates stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days after surgery, and begin normal activities within 3 to 5 weeks. If the surgeon has to make a larger cut given the size of the patient, or if the patient has other medical conditions, healing takes longer.

Lap-Band Surgery

Lap-Band surgery (aka the “gastric band procedure”) is another restrictive weight loss option for morbidly obese patients. It relies on, as the name suggests, the Lap-Band, a trademarked surgical device made by Allergan. Next, to gastric bypass surgery, the Lap-Band procedure is the second most popular bariatric surgery in the United States.

walk in clinic southern california

How Lap-Band Surgeries Are Performed

During surgery, the Lap-Band is placed around the top portion of the stomach directly below the esophagus. A small opening for tubing is inserted under the skin and attached to the band. This involves the surgeon making 3 to 5 small incisions, each about one inch in length. The other incisions allow for the use of surgical instruments and placement of the band. The doctor will adjust the tightness of the band after surgery. Then the Lap-Band is filled with a saline solution that acts to restrict the overall size of your stomach. Food consumed/digested afterward will sit above this restricted area of the stomach, which will give you the feeling of being full much quicker. The food slowly makes its way into the rest of the stomach and goes through the normal digestion process.

Have You Made the Decision to Have Gastric Sleeve or Lap-Band Surgery? Visit UrgentMED Today

If you are interested in either Gastric Sleeve or Lap-Band surgery, visit The UrgentMED Network and consult with one of our weight loss specialists today! Our 18 medical walk-in clinics, located around Southern California, are part of a network designed to offer affordable rates for treatments, surgeries, and exams, whether you have insurance or not. Visit us today.

stomach bug or food poisoning

Stomach Bug or Food Poisoning? Quick & Simple Ways to Tell

Have you ever had a bad stomach and wondered if it is a bug or food poisoning? This is actually a very common problem, seeing as the two have very similar symptoms and are often conflated with one another.

How can you tell the two apart? This is an incredibly important question as getting the right answer can potentially prevent further health complications for you or others. Here are a couple of things you should know about the stomach bug and food poisoning.

Stomach Bug

What It Is 

The stomach bug in medical terms is called viral gastroenteritis. This is when your stomach and intestines become inflamed and irritated. This may be caused by viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. It is very contagious, and the most common way to catch it is through contact with someone who already has it.

Symptoms 

After being exposed to a virus, symptoms may start to appear after 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, stomach or intestinal cramps, constipation, weight loss, and joint stiffness.

You are likely to feel better in a couple of days. However, there are those that experience symptoms for a week or longer.

Treatment 

Drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration. Drink electrolyte-rich drinks as well. Once you are ready for solid foods, Introduce bland foods such as bread, whole grains, and vegetables. Do not ingest dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. Antibiotics will not work because of its viral nature.

Prevention 

In order to prevent contracting the stomach bug, always keep your hands clean. This is especially true if you have been around a sick person. There are also vaccines that can help you from catching it. A vaccine against gastroenteritis caused by the rotavirus is available in some countries, including the United States. Given to children in the first year of life, the vaccine appears to be effective in preventing severe symptoms of this illness.

In the event that you or your child gets the bug, just stay at home so that other people will not get ill.

Food Poisoning

What It Is 

Food poisoning is ingesting food that may have been contaminated by infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. People typically get this from raw, undercooked, or unclean food.

Symptoms 

Getting food poisoning is way more common than getting a bug. Expect to see symptoms 2 to 6 hours after eating food that has been contaminated. The symptoms may include one or more of the following: muscle aches, fever, eye swelling, headache, diarrhea, general malaise, fatigue, sweating, thirst, and difficulty breathing. Typically, you will not be experiencing these symptoms for longer than two days, and proper hydration and rest is enough to make a full recovery quickly. In some cases, however, medical attention may be required.

Treatment 

Keep yourself hydrated, especially if you are undergoing persistent diarrhea. Rest well and ask your physician at UrgentMed what course of action to take.

walk in clinic long beachPrevention 

In order to keep yourself from experiencing food poisoning, always keep your food and equipment clean. Cook your meats and other food fully, and be sure to keep your hands clean whenever you prepare food or a meal. Immediately refrigerate perishable foods, and no longer eat those that may already be rotten.

Some people are at higher risk to develop food poisoning. They include children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease and anyone with immunodepression.

Experiencing Severe Stomach Discomfort? Visit the UrgentMED Network

The symptoms of stomach bug and food poisoning may be identical. However, it is important to tell what you have in order for you to be able to treat your sickness properly and recover as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to visit a medical professional immediately.

If you start experiencing symptoms for long amounts of time, or more intensely, visit one of UrgentMED Network’s 18 convenient walk-in locations for the best course of treatment – no appointment necessary.