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Children Playing Soccer

Avoiding and Treating Sports-Related Injuries

Summer is here and you want to make the most of your time in the sunshine. There are games to play, fun to have, and activities abound.

Kids and adults participate in different summer leagues, but there are also lots of opportunities for pickup sports — soccer, softball, basketball — and activities in general — hiking, swimming, and biking.

Stretch Before Starting

Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean your body is warmed up for whatever activity you have in mind. You need to stretch your muscles before any activity if you’re not already a regular athlete. Stretching helps prevent muscle strains and sprains which can potentially sideline you, forcing you to miss big chunks of your summer.

Boy Playing Baseball

Get Equipped

Some activities require special safety equipment. Activities like baseball, softball, biking, and skateboarding should be done with helmets worn to protect your head. Mouthguards provide extra protection for baseball and skateboarding.

Shoes can be important for safety. Cleats for baseball, softball, soccer, or football will give you better traction and keep you from sliding around on the field. Wearing shoes with ankle support will help you playing basketball or volleyball. You also want to wear durable shoes or hiking boots if going on a walk over rugged terrain.

Be sure to wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Also, never swim alone; be sure there is a lifeguard on duty or go with a friend.

Rest, Recharge and Refuel

When you were a kid, it seemed like you could go all day, every day and never need a break. But even if you feel that way today, or your kids insist they can keep going, it’s good to work in time to rest.

You’re expending valuable energy regardless of the activity. Overdoing it can lead to a potential injury from overuse.

Make sure you refuel with a snack such as fruit. And be sure to drink plenty of water. Energy and sports drinks may be okay when you’re recovering from a workout, but nothing beats water when you’re in the middle of an activity. It will keep you from dehydrating and overheating.

Listen to Your Body

There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the action, especially if you’re starting to feel your muscles get tight, or you start feeling pain or swelling in your joints.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know you might need to stop. Heed those warnings. Failure to do so could lead to a more serious injury that could require a trip to the doctor or the emergency room.

Baskeball Teacher

Treating Injury When It Occurs

Despite your best efforts, it’s likely you or someone close to you will end up bruised, scraped, sprained, or even with a concussion from playing sports. Here’s what you should do in each situation.

  • Bruising — The most common happens to soft tissue. It changes color, there’s some swelling, and it’s painful to touch. These take time to heal. Rest whenever possible. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day. Wrap the area to reduce swelling and elevate the bruised area above your heart.
  • Cuts and scrapes — Make sure whoever treats the area has clean hands to keep from spreading infection. Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound with running water and clean the area around the wound with soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to help prevent scarring then cover the wound with a bandage or clean gauze. Change the dressing daily and get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or was dirty and it’s been at least five years since your last shot. See a doctor if you see redness, swelling, drainage or feel increased pain.
  • Sprains and strains — Sprains are injuries to tissue connecting bones. Strains are injuries to the muscle or the tissue connecting muscle to bone. Sprains are most common in your ankle, wrist, knee, or thumb. It’s important to ice the affected area, elevate it, and wrap it to reduce swelling. Most sprains take time. Severe sprains may require surgery if ligaments are torn.
  • Concussion — This is an injury to your brain that will require some rest. That means limiting video gaming, watching TV, texting, reading, homework, or using a computer. After 48 hours you can slowly increase your daily activities if they don’t cause any symptoms like dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, or nosebleeds. See a doctor if these conditions persist.

See Us with Any Questions

The experienced physicians and medical staff at AltaMed are familiar with sports injuries and know how to get you back on your feet and into the fun. It starts by developing a good relationship with your primary care physician. Call (888) 499-9303 for information or to make an appointment.

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Mother and Son Smiling

Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer

Summer conjures images of carefree fun, soaking in the sunshine, splashing in the waves, and enjoying those summer nights.

You can do all those things but still stay healthy with a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women Walking in the Park

Keep Moving

Take advantage of better weather by getting outside and going for a stroll, hike, or bike ride. Just 30 minutes a day can do a world of good. You can plan to do it earlier in the morning or closer to dusk when it won’t be so hot. It’s good for your heart, helps reduce anxiety, and will help you sleep.

Watch Your Skin

You need to protect yourself not just from the sun, but from biting insects.

Spend time in the shade, wear wide-brimmed hats, cover up, and use sunscreen to keep from getting burned. Use insect repellent or wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against ticks and mosquito bites.

If you plan on wearing both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first, then apply the repellent. Always check for ticks after hiking in the woods.

Roasted Vegetables

Eat Right

So many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season in the summer. They are packed with water to help keep you hydrated and refreshed. Pair them with lean proteins and you won’t feel weighed down for your summer activities. You want to feel fueled up for the fun.

Keep Cool

Don’t overdo it outside. Take breaks to get out of the heat. Drink plenty of water as well. Check the weather to see what temperatures will be like if you have outdoor activities planned.

Father and Son Washing Hands

Think When You Drink

Water is always the best choice for hydrating. Sugary sodas and energy drinks only add calories. Infuse your water with fruit like lemons and limes, or maybe add some cucumbers to make things a little different. It will be a refreshing change of pace while keeping you hydrated.

With You All Year

AltaMed is with you year-round from infancy through your golden years. You can get started with AltaMed. We’re here for you at any stage of life. Contact us today at (877) 462-2582.

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Asthma

Having Asthma Means Every Breath Counts

We don’t think about breathing. We just do. It’s one of our body’s involuntary functions which include our heartbeat, blood flow, and digestion.

We take it for granted on some level because it’s automatic. When you can’t breathe, for any reason, nothing matters more than your next breath.

That’s how it feels for people with asthma. It is a chronic disease and one of the most common long-term diseases for children. Adults have it too.

It can cause breathlessness, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing early in the morning or at night. Asthma stays with you, but asthma attacks occur when something — like an allergen — affects your lungs. That’s when you feel it the most.

Girl With Her Inhaler


Asthma Facts

Asthma causes swelling in a person’s airways which makes it hard for them to breathe. While there is no cure, it can be managed with medication and preventive measures, like not exerting yourself, or limiting your exposure to environmental triggers.

Nearly 25 million, or 1 in 13, Americans have asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:

  • 8% of adults and 7% of children have asthma
  • Around 20 million Americans aged 18 and older have asthma
  • It’s more common in adult women than adult men
  • Around 5.1 million children under 18 have asthma
  • It’s the leading chronic disease in children
  • It’s more common in boys than girls
  • African Americans are nearly three times more likely to die of asthma than white Americans
  • 10 Americans die from asthma each day.

Asthma Causes

It’s not clear how it’s caused. Contributing factors, however, include genetics, environment, and occupation. If an immediate family member — like a parent or sibling — has asthma, it’s likely you have it.

Environmental elements like dampness, mold, dust mites, pollution, and tobacco smoke have all been linked to developing asthma. Working near dust, chemicals, or insulation can lead to the development of occupational asthma.

Doctor Treating Children

Diagnosis

Asthma can be hard to diagnose, especially in children under five. There are multiple tests doctors can conduct to determine if a patient has asthma, a respiratory infection, or some other chronic condition.

The most common measure is lung function. Doctors will test how much air can be exhaled after a deep breath. They may also use a device to measure how hard a person can breathe out. These tests are usually conducted before and after taking a medication to open the lungs. If there’s a difference, you probably have asthma.

Other tests include:

  • Allergy testing
  • Asthma triggers to cause airways to tighten
  • Exercising to trigger a response
  • Looking for certain white blood cells — eosinophils — in saliva and mucus
  • Measuring nitric oxide in someone’s breath
  • X-rays

Avoiding Attacks

Asthma only affects people when they have an attack. Attacks are caused when someone is exposed to an asthma trigger.

People with asthma have different triggers. The most common are:

  • Air pollution
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Exercise
  • Mold
  • Respiratory infections
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Wood smoke

People learn to identify their triggers, and avoid them, by working with health care professionals.

 

Treating Asthma

Asthma stays with you for life. You never outgrow it. You may have fewer symptoms the older you get, but it’s always there.

Two-thirds of children under six who may have wheezed when they had colds, may not as they get older, likely never had asthma.

Taking medicine exactly as directed and avoiding asthma triggers are the best ways to avoid an asthma attack. The medicine can vary from a pill to inhaled medications. They are prescribed to provide either long-term relief or emergency relief — like from an asthma attack with the use of an inhaler.

There can be some side effects from asthma medicine, but most are mild and soon go away.

Work with your doctor to develop an asthma plan and make sure you share it with the right people. Also, make sure to take your long-term control medicine whether you are having symptoms or not.

We’re Here to Help

Asthma is a chronic condition but not one you have to face alone. AltaMed is here to offer support with treatment and developing an asthma action plan to prevent attacks. Contact

AltaMed at (888) 499-9303 for more information or to make an appointment.

Avoiding and Treating Sports-Related Injuries