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Houston Medical News

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus: How To Protect Yourself

A coronavirus is a type of virus with many different strains that may or may not cause disease. However, last year’s outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, now referred to as SARS-CoV-2, has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness called COVID-19. While a disease outbreak such as this can be frightening, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

How Is Covid-19 Spread? 

Currently, the spread of this coronavirus is being studied and monitored closely by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, and other medical centers around the world. Declared a public health emergency in January, it is still unknown how contagious the virus is, but it is believed to have originated from an animal, but may be passed from person to person.

Covid-19 Symptoms:

To clarify, early studies have shown that symptoms begin appearing in the afflicted within 14 days. Common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Respiratory Problems (i.e. Pneumonia)
  • In severe cases, Kidney Failure or Death

However, if you’ve traveled to Wuhan, China and are experiencing these symptoms, contact a medical healthcare provider immediately. For everyone’s safety, be sure to call before you go, explaining your recent travels and symptoms.

How To Protect Yourself

Above all, the best way to protect yourself from contracting COVID-19 is to follow these suggestions from the CDC.

  • If you’re sick, stay at home.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, for a minimum twenty seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water aren’t available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-activity surfaces.

Myths About Covid-19

Most importantly, with all of the information available, it can be hard to decipher what is and isn't true about this illness. Make sure you stay informed about the disease and don’t fall for common myths:

  • A vaccine for COVID-19 is not currently available. Scientists are working to develop one, but creating a safe vaccine for humans can take several months.
  • You cannot prevent COVID-19 with bleach, acetic acid, steroids, essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances. These practices can be dangerous and don’t actually prevent you from contracting the illness.
  • The 2019 Novel Coronavirus was not intentionally created or released by people. Viruses adapt over time. Occasionally, an outbreak occurs when a virus commonly found in an animal evolves and passes to humans. It is highly likely that this is how this virus originated.
  • People are not dying from this coronavirus in many countries. As a result, only four people from countries other than China have died.
  • Ordering products from China will not get you sick. Researchers are working diligently to determine how COVID-19 is spread. New information is emerging daily, but as of now, scientists do not believe that the virus can live for long on surfaces. It is likely that the disease is spread from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.

Trust Your Medical Professionals

If you’ve recently traveled to China and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, don’t panic. It’s important to remember that while 1,775 deaths have been caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, more than 11,300 people have recovered from the illness.

Overall, medical institutions from across the globe are monitoring this disease very closely and are taking steps to prevent it from spreading.

Furthermore, at Townsen Memorial, your care and comfort is our priority. Conveniently located in Humble, off of FM 1960 and Highway 59, our team of certified medical professionals are available for your emergent, clinical or hospital care. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, covid-19

4th Of July Safety – Boats & Fireworks

Summer is all about spending time in the sun, being on the water and seeing friends and family. From celebrating on the 4th of July to Friday night barbecues, there’s no shortage of good times. However, along with the games and relaxation, safety can sometimes be overlooked. It is important to always be aware of the risk that comes along with long days in the sun, boat rides and fireworks. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to make sure your summer is smooth sailing.  

Boat Safety

While spending the day swimming, cruising and tubing on a boat is blast, it can go south quickly if the right safety measures are not being followed. There are many to preparations to be aware of before setting off for the day and rules to follow while you are out in the water, including:

  • Always wear the correct size life jackets & have enough for every person in attendance (even if he/she knows how to swim)
  • Make sure you have everything you need on your boat, especially water, food and a first aid kit
  • Do not drink & drive a boat
  • Know your limits & use common sense in decisions, specifically in regards to weather & dangerous currents
  • When tubing, water-skiing, etc. always have a spotter & use common hand signals

Following these guidelines is extremely important for the safety & wellbeing of everyone involved in your boating day. In 2019, the Coast Guard counted 4,168 accidents that involved 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries and approximately $55 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Staying alert, using common sense and following standard boating/water safety rules will be the key to a perfect, easy-going day on the water.

Firework Safety

With the 4th of July quickly approaching, it’s important to follow recommended guidelines when using fireworks of any kind. 

While no 4th of July celebration is complete without fireworks, it is important to follow all safety guidelines when using them. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2018, there were 9,100 firework-related injuries treated in hospitals all across the United States. To avoid the summer celebration ending with an Emergency Room trip, follow these guidelines from the CPSC:

  • Never allow young children to directly play with or ignite the fireworks
  • Always have adults supervise firework activities, including the use of sparklers 
  • Never hover over a firework when lighting
  • Always back up to a safe distance (approximately 30ft) after lighting
  • Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that did not fully ignite
  • Never point or throw at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water available in case of fire
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in a container
  • Douse the used fireworks in water before throwing away to prevent a trash fire
  • Only use legal fireworks 

Summer Activities With Covid-19

In addition to boating and firework safety, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still a threat. Throughout days at the lake, summer barbecues and 4th of July celebrations, please continue to social distance and wear a mask whenever possible. If you start showing symptoms including but not limited to a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, call your doctor and do not venture out into the community until further instruction. 

Townsen Memorial Hospital Is Here For You

At Townsen Memorial Hospital in Humble, TX, our medical staff is trained to care for and treat any injuries, including those from boating and firework accidents. You can find us off of 59N and FM 1960 at the corner of 1960 & Townsen Rd. for 24/7 emergency care. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, covid-19, summer safety

Keeping Your Children Safe During Back To School

Back to school looks different this year for everyone–parents, kids, teachers and school staff alike. Whether you’re homeschooling, virtually learning, or sending your child back to school in-person, one thing that’s likely on your mind is how to make sure they’re safe. While there isn’t one sure-fire solution to protecting your child from COVID-19, there are many things you can do, and that you can teach your son or daughter to do, to help protect them. 

Physical Distancing

School provides tremendous social benefits. However, one of the biggest ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through physical distancing. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends children and adults remain six feet apart. 

You can use visual aids and practice to teach your children how to interact with others at school while maintaining a safe distance. Start by explaining to them why they need to stay six feet away from their peers and teachers. You can then help them measure six feet with a measuring tape and find something of theirs that measures that length, like a favorite stuffed animal or toy. Another option is to have them guess what is 6 feet from where they are standing. For other ways to teach your children how to socially distance safely, click here

Wear A Mask

According to the CDC, “when used consistently and correctly, along with important mitigation strategies, cloth face coverings are important to help slow the spread of COVID-19.” Cloth face masks help prevent the spread of respiratory droplets and can help protect your child and the rest of your family if someone does come to school, knowingly or not, infected with COVID-19. 

Additionally, face masks are exceedingly important during times when proper physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Getting your child used to wearing a mask and teaching them not to touch or remove their mask while at school is one way you can mitigate their risk and others’.

Sanitize And Wash Hands Frequently

For both adults and children, frequent and thorough hand-washing is important in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Teach your children not only how to wash their hands, but the key times to do it, such as after using the restroom, before and after eating, when returning home from public areas, before touching their face or mouth, after touching pets and garbage and more. Plus, practicing these four easy steps will help younger and older children alike remember how to wash their hands effectively:

  1. Get your hands wet in clean water and put soap on your hands to make suds. 
  2. Rub. Rub rub rub your soapy hands together long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice. Clean your palms, the back of your hands, and between your fingers. And don’t forget to clean under your nails, as they can trap dirt and germs.
  3. Hold your hands under clean, running water and rub them to rinse them fully.
  4. Shake your hands a few times, then dry them with a clean towel or hand dryer. 

Disinfect Supplies

Something you can do to help prevent exposure is to disinfect and sanitize your child’s school supplies, including their lunchbox, pencils, crayons, books, binders and more. This can help keep other members of your family safe as well. You can also ask your child’s teacher what they’re doing to ensure the furniture and supplies kept at school are cleaned. 

Limit Sharing

While we all learn the importance of sharing in school, this year is bound to look a little bit different. Explain to your child that right now, they shouldn’t be sharing supplies, clothing (including masks) or food with others. Doing so spreads germs and viruses like COVID-19. 

Rely On Your Neighbors At Townsen Memorial Hospital

At Townsen Memorial, your care and comfort is our priority.Our team is well-versed in infectious diseases, and can care for you or a loved one if you are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19. 

Conveniently located in Humble, off of FM 1960 and Highway 59, our team of certified medical professionals are available for your emergency, clinical or hospital care.To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, covid-19

Breast Cancer And Early Detection

As you probably already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While participating in charity runs and wearing pink are great ways to raise funds and awareness, knowing the early warning signs of breast cancer can help you detect the disease early. Whether it’s yearly screenings or monthly self-checks, familiarizing yourself with the early signs of breast cancer can save your life. 

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Many patients report only noticing one or two symptoms at first. If you notice something is wrong or has changed, contact your physician. Some early symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A change in the breast or nipple appearance, i.e. a change in breast shape, skin dimpling, unexplained swelling or shrinkage, turned or inverted nipple, or scaly, red or swollen skin around the nipple or areola.
  • Bloody or Clear Nipple Discharge
  • Nipple Tenderness
  • Lumps (while all lumps need to be examined by a professional, not all lumps are cancerous)
  • Enlarged pores in the skin of the breast, that can sometimes mimic the look of an orange peel

It is important to note that while women who experience breast pain, discomfort or tenderness may be concerned about breast cancer, breast pain is typically not a symptom. 

How to Check Yourself for Breast Cancer

While noticing any one of the symptoms listed above can be scary, it’s important to remember that not every symptom automatically means you have cancer. By performing monthly self-checks, you can more easily identify any changes to your breasts and alert your doctor if necessary. 

Once per month, all adult women should take a few minutes to examine their breasts. According to Johns Hopkins, forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. While mammograms can help detect cancer before you feel something is off, regularly examining your breasts will get you familiar with how they normally feel and look so you can let your doctor know if something changes. 

You can perform a self-exam one of three ways: lying down, in the shower, or in front of a mirror. 

Lying Down: When you’re lying down, your breast tissue spreads out evenly along your chest wall. After placing a pillow under your right shoulder, put your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your index, middle and pointer fingers around your entire breast and underarm. Inspect the area with light, medium and firm pressure. Then squeeze your nipple to check for discharge or lumps. Repeat these steps with your left breast. 

In the Shower: With the pads of your index, middle and pointer finger, check your entire breast and underarm area by pressing down with light, medium and firm pressure. Feel for any lump, hardening, thickening or any other changes.

In Front of the Mirror: With your arms flat at your sides, visually inspect your breasts. Then raise your arms above your head. Look for any changes in your breast shape, like swelling or dimpling, or any changes to the appearance of your nipples. Then, put your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. While most women do not have perfectly symmetrical breasts, look for any puckering, dimpling or changes, especially on one side. 

Mammography

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast tissue that allows your physician to check for any suspicious lumps or changes. While breast self-exams can help you detect any changes and alert your doctor, regular mammograms can detect tumors before you can feel them. However, if you do feel a lump during a self-check, contact your physician and try not to panic, as 80% of these tumors turn out to be non-cancerous. 

Breast Cancer and Townsen Memorial

If you have concerns about changes to your breasts, or need to schedule your yearly mammogram, our team at Townsen Memorial can help. Conveniently located in Humble, off of FM 1960 and Highway 59, our team of certified medical professionals are available for your emergency, clinical or hospital care.To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, Breast cancer

National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It is important to remain educated, find resources, and make sure all those around us are aware of their risk too. Diabetes is a complex health condition that affects millions of people in America. Without proper management it can lead to serious complications. 

What Is Diabetes?

Nearly half of all-American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, yet don’t understand the serious life-long burden of this illness or the 24/7 work it takes to effectively manage. According to the CDC, 34.2 million Americans have diabetes. Another 88 million American adults have prediabetes. 

Diabetes Is A Long-Lasting Health Condition That Affects How Your Body Turns Food Into Energy

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Carbs are broken down to produce glucose, causing the blood glucose level to rise. The liver also stores glucose, which is used to avoid low blood glucose level when we’re not eating. 

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the blood sugar level between certain limits. It can remove glucose from the blood and transport it into the cells of the body where it is needed for energy. Insulin also regulates the production of glucose by the liver and switches off production when the blood sugar level is high. 

Normally, the body produces enough insulin to keep the blood glucose level at ideal levels by removing excess glucose from the blood and regulating how much the liver processes. People with diabetes are not able to remove the excess glucose from the blood-allowing the blood glucose level to rise.

With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it like it should. 

There Are 2 Types Of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder that affects young children predominately and continues the rest of their lives. In Type 1 diabetes the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the carbs you eat into blood sugar that it uses for energy. Insulin is the hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. 

The key to managing Type 1 diabetes lies in working with your healthcare providers to discover what works best for you. Reach out to a doctor at Townsen Memorial to have a conversation about your concerns. We will work to find the resources that work best for you and help you find a balance in your life. We want you to feel comfortable in your lifestyle. 

Type 2 Diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes. The body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough production of insulin, the glucose stays in the blood. 

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious long-term problems such as: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Vision problems
  • Stroke 
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Depression

Type 2 can be prevented or delayed by practicing a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy food, being active, or losing weight if you are considered overweight. 

Avoid sugar and high-carbohydrate, processed foods. This includes sugary drinks, white bread, and candy. Practicing aerobic exercise with strength training can also help you maintain a healthy weight. A physician at Townsen Memorial can help you understand the steps you should be taking to live a healthy lifestyle if you are Prediabetic or struggle with Type 2 Diabetes.

Townsen Memorial Is Here For You

Our innovative facilities and experienced staff mean you’ll be comfortable during treatment and that you can trust us with your medical care. We are located in Humble, TX off of FM 1960 and Highway 59. We can help you get back on your feet and do the things you love in no time. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, Diabetes