Symptoms of Heat Stroke: How to Know If You Have Heat Stroke

 

As temperatures rise across Los Angeles and heatwaves get longer, it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping yourself healthy and safe when spending time outside.

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can happen due to simply too much exposure to high temperatures, typically in the summer months. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of the heat-related illness and when to see a doctor for heat stroke in Los Angeles.

Woman getting overheated during a workout

Causes of Heat Stroke

Simply put, heat stroke happens when your body overheats. As a result, it’s unable to regulate its temperature, raising your body’s overall body temperature and leading to the potentially severe symptoms we’ll explore below.

The most common causes of heat stroke are exposure to extremely high temperatures and overexertion in high temperatures. Heat stroke caused by sports is something to watch out for if you participate in outdoor sports during the summer months.

Dehydration is a factor that can exacerbate heat stroke, as your body needs to take in more liquids when temperatures are high. Excessive caffeine, alcohol, and too many layers of clothing in hot weather, chronic conditions, and certain medications are also risk factors.

In places like Los Angeles, temperatures inland are worsened by the ”heat island effect.”

The city is dense in its infrastructure and population, which makes it hotter and more humid than areas that are more rural or closer to the coast, where sea breezes aren’t stopped by tall buildings.

That means you don’t necessarily have to overexert yourself outdoors to suffer from heat stroke, only be exposed to extreme heat over time.

Symptoms of Heat stroke

Heat stroke typically doesn’t come on immediately. You’ll likely notice signs of heat exhaustion, first, such as:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Clamminess
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue or low blood pressure
  • Weak or rapid pulse

If not addressed with rest, fluids, and efforts to cool the body down, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, a more serious medical condition.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • A body temperature of 104 degrees or higher
  • Flushed skin
  • Personality changes, confusion, a disoriented state
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Racing pulse
  • Severe headache
  • Rapid breathing

Left untreated, heat stroke can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, organ failure, even death.

Little boy getting overheated while playing at the playground

How Do You Treat Heat stroke?

Seek heat stroke treatment in Los Angeles immediately if you or someone you’re with is exhibiting heat stroke signs. While awaiting medical attention, there are a few things you can do to prevent the most serious symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Move indoors or to a cool, shaded area
  • Remove any excess clothing
  • Start cooling methods

Any cooling method that works to start dropping the body’s temperature is a positive step. For example, enter a cold tub of water or shower, spray with cold water, fan the skin while keeping it moist with cool towels or water spray, or use cold packs at the armpits, neck, groin, or back.

Once help arrives or you’re able to get to a healthcare professional, you’ll likely get a temperature check followed by lab tests to confirm heat stroke. After that, medications may follow continued cooling techniques to help a person stop shivering or relax the muscles.

Recovery from heat stroke can take several days. More severe cases that require hospitalization can take much longer, so it’s crucial to understand ways to prevent heat stroke.

Woman drinking water on a sunny day

 

Ways to Prevent Heat stroke

The best way to prevent heat stroke in LA is to limit time out in the sun when the heat is at its worst. Try to time any needed time outdoors during the morning and evening hours when it’s cooler, and any heat-related illness risk is lessened.

If you cannot spend high heat days in cool spaces, there are a few additional ways to prevent heat stroke and a medical emergency.

Dress for the weather. Wear hats to keep the heat off your face, and avoid tight-fitting, dark clothing. Wear sunscreen, and reapply after any time in the water or vigorous activity.

Keep yourself hydrated throughout your time spent outside. You’ll need to drink more than you usually do, as your body is losing liquids to more sweat from the heat. If you’re participating in sports or recreational activities where you’re more active than usual, sports drinks with electrolytes may help not only to hydrate you but return necessary minerals depleted during exercise.

If you have a condition that may put you at additional risk for heat stroke, take extra precautions. Talk to a doctor about any extra steps you can take to reduce your risk or whether any medications you may be taking may be putting you at risk for a heat-related illness.

Many applying sunscreen to his arm

See a Doctor for Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can take a turn for the worse quite suddenly. Now that you know the symptoms, you know when to seek medical attention for heat stroke: immediately.

For follow-up care, book an appointment online for heat stroke. An urgent care facility will also be able to see you for symptoms of heat exhaustion to ensure that what you’re experiencing won’t develop into heat stroke.

First Aid for Animal Bites in Los Angeles: Types, Treatments & Symptoms

 

With the weather warming up and Los Angeles residents seeking out more outdoor activities, there is that increased risk that you may be exposed to wildlife while you’re out there.

More exposure to wildlife can mean more exposure to animal bites.

You can be more prepared for your adventure when you know about the kinds of animals you may be exposed to on trails, parks, and outdoor spaces. As well as, what to do if you suffer an animal bite, and when to seek animal bite treatment in Los Angeles.

Reliant Urgent Care Animal Bite Infographic

Los Angeles Animal Bite Treatment: General Tips

Before diving into treatment options for the different types of animal bites, it’s important to know a few rules of thumb following any bite, or even scratch, from a wild or domesticated animal.

Keep in mind that if you’re unsure of an animal’s vaccination status, particularly in the case of a wild animal, you may be at risk for rabies, tetanus, or a severe infection. Therefore, it’s essential to get yourself to an emergency room as soon as possible so a healthcare professional can recommend the next course of action.

Seek medical attention immediately if you’re also experiencing the following:

  • You were bitten by a wild animal or venomous snake/spider.
  • The bite is deep enough that it may require stitches.
  • You’re unable to stop the bleeding.
  • You’re having trouble breathing or developing a fever.
  • You feel fatigued, headaches, or have decreased appetite since the bite.

Sometimes animal bites can mean stitches, even surgery in the most aggressive cases. However, with more minor bites or animal scratches, an urgent care in Los Angeles will be able to clean and treat your wound.

Ahead of your visit, cleaning your wound with soap and water, applying an antibiotic ointment, and dressing the injury may help prevent infection.

woman looking at her daughter's bee sting

Dog Bite Treatment

Dog bites are the most common animal bite in the United States, with over 4.5 million dog bites annually. The most obvious sign of a dog bite is the puncture wound itself, most common on the hands, fingers, neck, or head.

For minor bites from a dog where the vaccination status is known, the immediate treatment should be applying pressure to the area to stop any bleeding. Follow that with cleaning the wound with warm water and soap and covering the area with a clean, dry bandage.

Watch for signs of infection following any dog bite:

  • The bite area is swelling, reddening, or warm to the touch.
  • The site is oozing pus with increasing pain.
  • Red streaks are forming away from the wound.
  • The bite victim is developing a fever.

Children make up the largest percentage of those bitten by dogs, so it’s important that any children in your care have a good understanding of commonsense dog safety tips: never approach strange dogs, gently interact with known dogs and never approach dogs without adult supervision.

Man's arm getting bit by a dog

Snake Bite Treatment

The most common snake in the Los Angeles area is the Southern Pacific rattlesnake, but several varieties can bite if you happen upon their paths.

The best course of action in preventing snake bites is always hiking with solid hiking boots and watching where you’re stepping, as snake bites are defensive.

If a snake bites you, you’ll know it right away. You’ll likely see a puncture wound with pain at the bite site. Severe symptoms that follow rattlesnake bites can include nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, low blood pressure, excessive thirst, or intense fatigue.

Following a snake bite, it’s important to follow two key steps:

  • Remove anything around the bite area that may constrict blood flow.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

Your healthcare professional will want to know what kind of snake bit you, so try to spot any identifying features if it’s safe to do so. If it had that telltale rattle, you’re dealing with one of the state’s rattlesnake varieties. Never approach a snake, though, just to determine its species.

Venomous snake bites will likely require antivenom treatment. A healthcare professional will clean, treat and dress your snake bite appropriately, but prompt animal bite treatment is essential here.

Snake about to bite a person's foot

Bee Sting Treatment

Bee stings for most summertime revelers are an annoyance, but an allergic reaction to a bee sting can become serious if not properly treated.

With a minor sting, you’ll likely suffer little more than pain at the bee sting site. Try removing the stinger if it’s visible, wash the area with warm soap and water, and apply a cold compress to relieve any pain you’re feeling.

Over-the-counter pain medications or antihistamines may help more moderate symptoms, like if the pain isn’t going away.

If you experience an allergic reaction or go into anaphylaxis following a bee sting, seek medical attention immediately. Watch for hives, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and fever, even if you’ve never reacted to that before.

You may not even know that you’re allergic to bee stings, as allergies can develop over time. Those with known allergies typically travel with an epinephrine auto-injector like an EpiPen and inject a dose of the medicine following any bee sting.

Arm with a irritated bee sting

Jellyfish Sting Treatment

If you enjoy spending time at the beach, you’ve likely seen jellyfish. They’re found floating in the water and on the sandy shores, so it’s important to be aware of the sea creatures to avoid potential stings.

Quick note: Jellyfish tentacles can still sting even if you think they’re dead while out on the beach.

A jellyfish’s sting feels like a burning or tingling sensation. A rash and swelling at the sting site can follow. In more severe cases, stings can cause nausea and vomiting, dizziness, even difficulty breathing.

If you’re stung by a jellyfish in Los Angeles, find the nearest lifeguard. They will likely have a salve on hand made up of saline and vinegar to give you some immediate relief.

While most jellyfish stings in Southern California are of the mild variety, allergic reactions do occur. If you’re experiencing any difficulty breathing or developing hives after a jellyfish sting, seek medical attention immediately.

When to Seek Animal Bite Treatment

Immediate action at home may prevent infection down the line following an animal bite. Still, it’s important to follow up any incident with a wild or domesticated animal with a visit to a healthcare professional. You may not be aware that your bite is on the verge of infection, and a doctor can prescribe a course of treatment for you, like antibiotics.

Schedule an appointment to treat an animal bite in Los Angeles even if you feel like the bite is minor. This is one of those situations where it’s best to err on the side of caution.

STD Testing in Los Angeles: Types, Signs & Treatment

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are some of the most common contagious diseases in Los Angeles and the United States, with the numbers only continuing to grow each year. Ignoring signs of an STD can lead to health complications down the line, so STD testing in Los Angeles is an important piece of your overall health.

Perhaps even more importantly, some common STDs don’t show any signs at all. That means that if you’re sexually active, it’s essential that you’re participating in routine STD screenings for the sake of your health and any potential sexual partners you may have.

Common STDs

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are three of the most common bacterial STDs in the United States. Of those, chlamydia is the most prevalent. However, all three are easily curable, especially if caught early.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all three of the most common bacterial STDs continue to rise each year, despite nationwide campaigns to reduce transmission through sexual health awareness and safe sex advocacy.

HIV, genital herpes, and genital warts (HPV) are viral STDs, and there is no cure for all three. HPV is the common STD overall in the United States, but gains have been made recently with vaccine efforts.

Generally, common signs of an STD include:

  • Sores or bumps in and around the genitals
  • Pain or itchiness in and around the genitals
  • Strange discharge from the vagina or penis
  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Flu-like symptoms

Different STIs will present with various symptoms, and some will present with no symptoms at all. Signs of an STD overlap with other conditions, too, like urinary tract infections.

If you notice anything strange, even if it’s mild, following any sexual contact, it’s best to schedule an STD test appointment in Los Angeles. A healthcare professional can get you tested, treated, and feeling better.

Woman getting an STD test

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in LA

Los Angeles County has followed the national trend in the three most commonly reported STDs described above: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. However, based on an analysis of reporting from 2018, numbers for all three have risen over the five years prior.

The county has been particularly worried about cases of congenital syphilis, or syphilis passed down to a fetus before birth. Efforts to reduce transmission rates for all three have focused on improving access to early detection of STDs, educating the sexually active about how easy it is to pass along an STD, and raising awareness about effective STD treatments.

STD Treatment

STD treatment for bacterial STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis typically consists of antibiotics. Your healthcare professional will advise the appropriate course of treatment, and it’s important to follow their instructions to the letter. As with most antibiotic treatments, take the full course, even if your symptoms have disappeared while you’re taking antibiotics.

While viral STDs don’t have a cure, STI treatment options like antiviral medications for HIV and oral medications to reduce herpes outbreaks have been supportive to those living with those STDs. When followed closely, STD treatment for viral STDs can successfully reduce your risk of transmission to sexual partners or relieve any associated symptoms.

STD antibiotic pills

Why Get Tested for STDs

Routine STD testing won’t stop you from getting an STD. You can do that through safe sex practices, like wearing protection during sexual activity or inquiring about the HPV vaccine to prevent strains of the virus that can cause the most complications.

What routine STD testing can do is catch any STDs that may cause you additional harm down the line and keep you from spreading the disease to someone else.

Early diagnosis and treatment offer you the best chance of a clean bill of health on the other side of STD treatment. Left untreated, some STDs can cause severe problems down the line, such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, complications with pregnancy, or cervical cancer.

If you’re wondering when you should be getting STD screenings, here are some good rules of thumb:

  • Get tested annually along with your annual physical, even if you’re monogamous
  • If you’re sexually active with more than one partner or have a history of STDs, get tested more routinely
  • If you know you’ve been exposed to an STD, get tested immediately

Blood test for an STD

Schedule Your STD Appointment

STD testing in Los Angeles isn’t usually part of a routine physical. Your doctor may discuss your sexual history with you and recommend specific testing if they feel you’re at risk. Still, inevitably it’s up to you as the patient to request routine STD testing or testing after potential STD exposure.

Now, you know how important it is to catch and treat STDs as quickly as possible, and urgent care like Reliant will help you with testing and an STD treatment plan for all of the most common STDs.

If you’d like to talk about your STD symptoms virtually, Reliant offers convenient and private virtual appointments for those looking for advice on their next steps. Don’t let any discomfort stop you from talking to a healthcare professional, as it’s best and most effective to treat STDs as quickly as possible.

A Sprain vs. Break: How to Tell the Difference

 

Sprains, strains, and broken bones are all painful injuries that can happen to anyone. But how can you tell which one you’re suffering from following an accident, sports injury, or overuse pain?

Since the course of treatment will vary depending on what’s happening with your body, it’s important to understand the difference between a sprain vs. break and know when to seek medical care for what you’re experiencing.

What Is a Sprain?

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, whether those ligaments are torn or stretched. Sprains differ from strains, which are an injury to the muscle or tendons. Neither is worse than the other, and both can cause quite a bit of pain.

So how can you tell whether your injury is a sprain or a broken bone?

Runner with an ankle bone injury

Sprain vs. Break: Which Is Which?

A fracture, or broken bone, isn’t always as obvious as you may think. You may assume you’ve suffered a sprain because you’re still able to put some weight on the limb. But depending on the severity of the break, a broken limb may still be able to bear weight. It’ll just hurt quite a bit.

There are a few differences to look for when determining whether you’ve suffered a sprain vs. break.

It could be a sprain if:

  • You feel pain around the affected region, and that pain is limited to soft areas, like the tissue around your ankle.
  • You’re starting to see some swelling around the sprain.
  • You see some bruising around the affected area.
  • You’re able to move the affected limb and still walk on a sprain, but in a limited capacity and with some pain.

swollen and bruised foot after an injury

It could be a break if:

  • You heard a crack at the time of the break. Most sprains happen silently or with a pop sound if they’re severe.
  • You can hear a crunching sound when you press down on the affected area. This is called crepitus.
  • You begin to see large, deep bruises forming and discoloration at the affected area.
  • You feel numbness or tingling and pain when pressure or movement is applied to the break.

 

It’s definitely a break if:

  • You’re not able to move the affected limb.
  • There is a visible deformity in the limb.
  • You can see the broken bone through the skin.

Doctor showing a child an x-ray of his fractured bone

Treatments for Sprains & Breaks

The RICE method, rest, ice, compression, elevation, is a common treatment immediately following a potential sprain. Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve immediate pain symptoms and reduce swelling. It is important to note that while this method is useful with mild sprains, a sprain can become a fracture without the appropriate care, so it’s essential to follow up with a doctor regardless.

RICE method steps

The ankle is the most common part of the body affected by sprains. Sprained ankle treatments will depend on the severity of the injury but can often include some physical therapy to regain complete control over the injured ligament. Most sprains are treatable without surgery, although urgent care for a sprain may be considered in cases of ligaments that have been torn completely.

If you’ve suffered a fracture, the first course of action will be immobilization of the affected area. Depending on the broken bone and the severity of the break, your doctor will place you in a splint or a cast for stabilization.

ankle injury treatments

How long does it take a broken bone to heal?

The general rule of thumb is that most fractures will heal within 6-8 weeks from the time of the injury. However, that time can vary depending on the severity of the fracture, the type of bone broken, and your overall health.

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to allow for proper healing.

Doctor examining a cast after a broken ankle

When to See a Doctor for a Sprain or Break

If you believe you have a sprain, you should still follow up with a doctor after taking steps to alleviate your pain. A doctor will be able to make sure that you don’t need to immobilize the area and recommend the best course of treatment for you to prevent long-term damage.

If you believe you’ve suffered a fracture, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

An urgent care doctor for a broken bone in Los Angeles will be able to handle many types of fractures, with X-rays and splints available to diagnose and treat your injury. If your pain is severe, you’ve broken a large bone or suffered a skull fracture or bone break anywhere near your eyes; an emergency room is more appropriate.

If you’re just unable to tell whether what you’ve experienced is a sprain or break, book your appointment online to talk to the health experts at Reliant, whether that means virtually or with an in-person visit. We can offer advice on the next steps, including providing you with imaging that will rule out a fracture in the office and recommend a treatment plan that will get you back on your feet.