A laceration is a tear in the skin, commonly known as a "cut". Lacerations usually result from an injury. Lacerations differ from abrasions in that with a laceration, the skin is cut all the way through; with an abrasion, there is usually a piece of epidermis removed in the injury, and the cut does not go all the way through the skin (more closely resembling a "scrape"). Most minor lacerations have little to no bleeding or pain, and there should be no numbness or tingling at the laceration site. These types of lacerations do not require seeing an Urgent Care doctor, and can be treated at home by cleaning the wound and keeping it covered.
More severe lacerations require urgent care, as they may necessitate some type of sutures and/or a tetanus shot. Lacerations that are especially deep or painful, that result in excessive bleeding, or ones that reveal tendons or bones need to be treated by an urgent care doctor immediately. In the meantime, keep firm pressure on the laceration.
Our providers will evaluate and treat your laceration in the office. Additionally, follow-up visits for wound checks and suture removal will be schedule during the initial urgent care consultation.
An abscess is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. Abscesses are often easy to feel by touching. The middle of an abscess is full of pus and debris.
Painful and warm to touch, abscesses can show up any place on your body. The most common sites are in your armpits, areas around your anus and vagina, the base of your spine, and in your groin. Inflammation around a hair follicle can also lead to the formation of an abscess.
Abscesses are caused by obstruction of oil (sebaceous) glands or sweat glands, inflammation of hair follicles, or minor breaks and punctures of the skin. Germs get under the skin or into these glands, which causes an inflammatory response as your body's defenses try to kill these germs.
The middle of the abscess liquefies and contains dead cells, bacteria, and other debris. This area begins to grow, creating tension under the skin and further inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Pressure and inflammation cause the pain.
Unlike other infections, antibiotics alone will not usually cure an abscess. In general an abscess must open and drain in order for it to improve. Sometimes draining occurs on its own, but generally it must be opened in a procedure called incision and drainage (I&D).
Abrasions and Minor Burns
A burn is an injury to the skin caused by exposure to extreme heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. Most minor burns only affect the skin, but severe burns require urgent care, as they can cause damage below the skin, all the way through to the fat, muscle, or bone. The symptoms of a burn are red, blistered skin, wet appearance (due to loss of fluid), severe pain in the burnt area, and whitening of the area when touched (called "blanching"). Signs of a more serious burn, which always require immediate urgent care are:
- A blistering burn that is larger than the size of your palm.
- A burn that is accompanied by symptoms of an infection, including fever, redness, and swelling of the wound.
- Foul-smelling drainage seeping from the burn.
- Evidence of shock, including difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, or inability to stay warm.
To stop burns from spreading or getting worse, first remove any clothing that is touching the affected area, as well as any clothing that has come into contact with chemicals or a hot substance. Then treat the injured skin with cold water, not ice. For deep, blistered burns, never irritate or puncture the blister. Instead, use petroleum jelly and gauze to gently protect the wound, and then seek urgent care. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen will control pain and swelling of the injury.
Our providers will evaluate and treat your burn in the office. If the minor burn has been dressed, they will instruct you to change the dressing once or twice daily.
A cast is used to help keep your injured area from moving so you can heal faster without risk of repeated injury. The amount of time you'll need to wear one depends on the type of injury you have and how serious it is. We typically check your cast 1 to 3 days after putting it on to be sure that it isn't too tight and that your injury is starting to heal.
What Can I Do About Itching?
If your skin itches underneath the cast, don't slip anything sharp or pointed inside the cast to try and itch the spot. This could damage your skin and you could get an infection. Instead, try tapping the outside or blowing air from a hair dryer down into the cast.
What else should I know?
Try to keep the area around the edge of the cast clean and moisturized (but do not put lotion down inside it ). Check the skin around the cast for irritation, chafing or sores.
Check in with us if there is a bad smell is coming from the inside of your cast (especially if you are running a fever). This may mean you have an infection.
Don't break off or file down any part of the cast. This could weaken it and make it more likely to crack or break. If there is an area that is uncomfortable, try padding it with a small towel or soft adhesive tape.
Most simple sutures are removed 7-10 days after placement, depending on location. Sutures on the face are removed after 5 days to decrease scarring.
Urinary Tract Infection - UTIs
Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections. A bladder infection usually is not serious if it is treated right away. If you do not take care of a bladder infection, it can spread to your kidneys. A kidney infection is serious and can cause permanent damage.
Usually, germs get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. The germs that usually cause these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. If these germs get inside your urethra, they can travel up into your bladder and kidneys and cause an infection.
Women tend to get more bladder infections than men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. Having sex can make it easier for germs to get into a woman's urethra.
You may have an infection if you have any of these symptoms:
- You feel pain or burning when you urinate.
- You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
- You have pain in your lower belly.
- Your urine is cloudy, looks pink or red, or smells bad.
- You have pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are.
- You have fever and chills.
- You have nausea and vomiting.
If you are pregnant, over 65 or have a weak immune system, this type of an infection could be more serious and you should be seen immediately.
Earaches and Sinusitis
An ear infection (acute otitis media) is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Ear infections frequently are painful because of inflammation and buildup of fluids in the middle ear, that are sometimes caused by sinus inflammation and infection.
Bacteria, viruses- and even allergies and stomach acid- can cause a sore throat. When a bacterial infection occurs it can be from:
- Strep throat, which usually does not occur with congestion or a cough.
The most common symptoms of strep throat are:
- A sudden, severe sore throat.
- Pain when you swallow.
- Fever over 101° F (38.3° C)
- Swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
- White or yellow spots on the back of a bright red throat
- We offer a rapid strep test in-office that takes around 10 minutes
Cold and Flu
Symptoms of the common cold include nasal congestion, watery eyes, body aches, fevers and mucus drainage. While most cold and flus are self limited and last 7-10 days, sometimes the viral infection can lead to bacterial infections in your lungs, sinuses, or ears that require medical treatment such as antibiotics and prescription strength anti-inflammatories.
We can evaluate your symptoms and help relieve the symptoms of the common cold. Additionally, our doctors will evaluate and reassure you whether or not there is a need for antibiotics or other prescription strength cold and flu medications.
These usually involve redness, a rash, hives, and itching. While feeling the urge to scratch your skin off is not pleasant, it won't kill you.
- Immediately stop taking whatever medication that triggered it.
- If it's due to an animal, get away from the scene. Removing the dog will not do anything about the dander that it leaves behind.
- Take an antihistamine. Pop an antihistamine tablet if you don't mind being awake or a cough/cold syrup if you want to sleep.
- To deal with the rash, apply different kinds of sprays and creams. Hydrocortisone should be a basic staple in an allergic person's household. There are prescription level ones too. Some pharmacies carry an anti-itch spray that contains zinc acetate.
- Other suggestions are to take an oatmeal bath and avoid sunlight. Keeping a minor allergic reaction from turning into a full blown attack is the primary goal.
- If you are having trouble breathing or feel that your throat is swelling, call 911. That is an emergency.
Mild Asthma Attack
Asthma is a common respiratory illness affecting millions of children and adults each year. The symptoms of asthma include:
- Feeling short of breath
- Frequent coughing
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Breathing faster than usual
These symptoms are usually caused by constriction of the smaller airways, airway inflammation, and mucous build up in the airways.
Asthma can be controlled with medication but unfortunately there is no cure for asthma. The treatment goals include living an active normal life and preventing chronic long term symptoms from asthma. The two main therapies for asthma control include bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories.
We will evaluate your asthma symptoms prescribe the treatments necessary to control your current asthma symptoms. Additionally we have a nebulizer treatment available in-office so that you can walk out feeling better. We may also prescribe medication to prevent future asthma attacks that would otherwise require urgent visits to the doctor, emergency room, or hospital.