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ANXIETY INDUCED REASONS FOR AN EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT

There is no such thing as a “wasted” visit to the emergency room for an anxiety attack. For someone who may be experiencing anxiety, or their first panic attack, a visit to the emergency room is warranted to make sure that the cause of the person’s distress is not a heart attack, asthma/breathing problem, thyroid or hormone emergency, or other dangerous medical condition such as irregular / fast heartbeat, blood clot in the lungs or anxiety arising from a neurological disorder, medication reaction or elevated blood pressure.

Almost anyone experiencing symptoms of anxiety or a panic attack requires evaluation. Unless the individual has a history with panic attacks, is generally healthy, and is experiencing a typical attack, they must be evaluated promptly by a doctor. Its best to be on the safe side and go to an emergency room like ER Katy where the doctors have the necessary equipment and experience to appropriately evaluate for a potentially underlying dangerous emergency medical condition.

Even for doctors who are board certified in emergency room medicine, the diagnosis of a panic attack is known as a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that before the doctor can be sure of a panic attack based diagnosis, all other possible causes of the symptoms and other possible conditions need to be considered first.

Anxiety can mimic many harmful conditions. A good doctor must “think of the worst” to be sure not to miss other conditions with a potentially more serious outcome. With doctors who are board certified in emergency medical treatment, patients can expect the best diagnosis including a thorough history check and a thorough physical examination for potentially life threatening conditions.

  • Specifically, the doctor will be concerned with the patient’s prior medical history, past history of any mental illness or related medications, and any surgery the person may have had. In addition, the doctor will explore whether the anxiety or panic attack sufferer has a specific anxiety disorder in addition to or instead of panic disorder, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias or generalized anxiety disorder.
  • The doctor will consider any medications the person is taking or has recently taken and in what dosage.
  • The doctor will inquire about any specific life stressors the patient may be experiencing.
  • A determination whether panic or anxiety illnesses “run in the family” and about any recent use of alcohol or other drugs . It is important to be honest during the evaluation about drug or alcohol habits because both are critical diagnosis factors.
  • Caffeine intake will be assessed.
  • The doctor should inquire about any herbal or over-the-counter medicines taken.
  • A physical exam should include a head-to-toe check of all the vital organ systems. The doctor will monitor the heart and lungs and perform a brief neurologic exam to help insure the brain is functioning properly.
  • The emergency medicine doctor will use their best judgment regarding the necessity of ordering additional on-site tests. Given the nature of the symptoms associated with acute anxiety or a panic attack, the patient will usually receive an ECG or heart tracing test.
  • Should the emergency medicine doctor be concerned that the symptoms could be caused by a medical disorder, blood tests, urine tests, drug screens, and even X-rays or CT scans may be performed with on-site equipment.
  • If the person has a family history of seizures or symptoms that are not typical for panic attack, a neurologist may be asked to evaluate the person. There is some overlap between the symptoms of panic attack and what are known as “partial seizures.” Distinguishing between the two is important because the treatment for each is quite different. A neurologist, if consulted, will order an EEG (electroencephalogram) to check for seizure activity in the brain. This is a painless test but does require some time to complete (typically overnight).

In summary, anxiety can be a lot more than just worry about a particular event. It can range from stroke to heart attack to blood clot in lungs to medication reaction. In either case it is important to be checked out by a board certified ER doctor at a place like ER Katy that has the specialized equipment onsite to expedite comprehensive diagnosis and care.

ER Katy is committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients. All doctors on ER Katy’s staff are Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and are ready to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ER Katy is conveniently located at I-10 and Pin Oak, near HEB.

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REDUCING YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE

There is more to February than the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. February is also National Heart Health Month. Sadly, heart disease claims approximately 1 million lives a year. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Good news, it is also one of the most preventable. By knowing your risk factors and making heart-healthy choices, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.

In honor of Heart Month, here are some steps you can take on the road to reducing your risk of heart disease:

  • Know your weight and body mass index (BMI). A body mass over 25 can mean an increased risk for heart disease. You can measure your BMI here with this online BMI calculator. Even a slight reduction in these numbers can lead to improvement in a blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar control. All of which are linked to heart health. Here are some tips for losing weight from UCSF Medical Center.
  • Have your blood pressure checked. A healthy blood pressure reading usually falls under 120/80. Elevated blood pressure indicates extra strain on your arteries and heart which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Your healthcare provider can discuss your blood pressure readings with you and formulate an individualized plan accordingly.
  • Determine your current level of heart health and risk factors. The American Heart Association has a helpful online health assessment tool. My Life Check is designed to help you understand your current level of cardiovascular health, assess your individual health needs, commit to healthy next steps to improve your health and quality of life, and move you closer to your personal health goals. By inputting basic info such as age, weight, height and answering some questions about your eating habits and physical activity, you will receive a “heart score”. You will then be given customized tips on how to improve your cardiovascular health. Be sure to visit periodically after making recommended changes to measure your improvement.
  • If you smoke, QUIT! Tobacco use significantly increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Quitting smoking is one of the single most important things you can do to slash your risk of heart disease. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen the blood is able to carry. At the same time, the nicotine causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Overtime, this creates a tremendous amount of “wear and tear” on the cardiovascular system. Smoke Free is a helpful resource when it comes to smoking cessation. You will find support, tools, tips, and expert advice to help you or someone you love quit smoking.
  • Healthy lifestyle habits such as eating smart, managing stress and daily activity play key roles in the prevention of heart disease. Healthy For Good is a movement by the American Heart Association to encourage people to make lasting changes in their health and life. Their approach is “Eat smart. Add color. Move More. Be Well.” They will provide you with encouragement and resources to make small changes that have a big impact in your overall health. Having a robust support system like Healthy For Good offers sets you up for success in your health goals. For further reading on strategies to improve heart health through healthy lifestyle habits, check out this article from the The Mayo Clinic.

In summary, anxiety can be a lot more than just worry about a particular event. It can range from stroke to heart attack to blood clot in lungs to medication reaction. In either case it is important to be checked out by a board certified ER doctor at a place like ER Katy that has the specialized equipment onsite to expedite comprehensive diagnosis and care.

ER Katy is committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients. All doctors on ER Katy’s staff are Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and are ready to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ER Katy is conveniently located at I-10 and Pin Oak, near HEB.

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THE ZIKA VIRUS: RISKS AND PREVENTION

A Guide To What You Should Know About The Zika Virus

It can be a bit scary and confusing to hear about an incurable disease with potentially serious birth defects making it’s way around the globe. The World Health Organization has declared Zika a global public health emergency. As the number of reported Zika Virus cases continue to grow, we at ER Katy want to provide our patients information on how to protect themselves and loved ones from this growing health concern. Here are few things that you should know about the Zika Virus.

What is Zika?

Zika is a mosquito-borne infection. It can often times be confused with the flu. It presents with mostly mild symptoms. These symptoms can last anywhere from 2-7 days. It is estimated that up to 80% of people infected with Zika never even display symptoms. Symptoms include: mild fever, headaches, joint pain, skin rash, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. At this time there is no known cure or vaccines for Zika.

How is Zika Transmitted?

Zika is transmitted by three different methods. The most common way it is transmitted is through a mosquito bite. Blood transfusions and sexual contact are the other two ways that it can be spread.

Where is Zika?

Zika cases have been reported in Africa, South and Central America, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. The US has also seen growing cases of the virus as well, with Miami and Puerto Rico being areas of particular concern. Here is a link to the US State Department’s health travel advisories. It is suggested that before you travel, to consult the list and take necessary precautions.

Serious side effects of Zika?

Research has found a link between the Zika virus and a higher instance of Guillian-Barre Syndrome in adults. Guillian-Barre Syndrome is a condition where the immune system attacks nerves following an infection, resulting in muscle weakness and paralysis. For more information on this condition click here. Pregnant women are of great concern when it comes to Zika because it has been linked to serious birth defects, such as microcephaly. At this time the likelihood of this connection is undetermined. Because of this concern, the State of Texas is providing pregnant women on Medicaid with access to free EPA approved bug repellent. For more information on this initiative visit this link.

How to prevent Zika?

Fortunately there are many things that you can do to protect yourself from contracting this virus. Prevention is key. New technologies are available which provide effective protection without reliance on sprays. These solutions can be expensive in terms of recurring supply costs but they do work well and provide an alternative to skin based chemical applications. Traditional methods can be more feasible. Be diligent with insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites. Make sure it is approved by the EPA. For more information on which bug repellent you should be using click here. Full-length clothing, and clothing designed with InsectShield, will help limit skin exposure, reducing your risk of bites. Check travel advisories before travel and take necessary precautions when travelling to areas of concern, such as delaying travel or the use of mosquito netting and air conditioning. Drain, treat or cover areas of standing water whenever possible. “Mosquito Dunks” are environmentally and animal friendly for areas with standing water (including bird baths). Finally, avoid sexual contact with people who have recently travelled to cautioned areas or have an increased risk for the virus. There are Zika cases in Texas that have been contracted via sexual contact with persons infected in Florida.

What if I suspect Zika?

If you suspect that you have contracted Zika, it is very important to contact your health care provider immediately. A simple blood test can determine if you are infected and a treatment plan can be established. The health of you and your family are of utmost importance to us here at ERKaty. We are happy to address any further concerns or questions about the Zika virus or any other health concerns you might have. We are open 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Contact us at 281-395-9900 or visit ER Katy.com

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DR. SANTA C. BROWN HELPS THE KATY FIRE DEPARTMENT WITH TOYS FOR TOTS

To kick off December in the spirit of giving, ER Katy staff and family assisted the Katy Fire Department in gathering a sleigh full of unwrapped toys for USMC Toys for Tots program. ER Katy’s own Dr. Santa C. Brown, accompanied by a few jolly helpers, also collected canned food and other edibles to stock up local pantries for the holiday season. Dr. Santa mounted his sleigh on a 1953 Katy Firetruck to ensure an appropriately festive and historically intriguing vehicle for the evening’s activities.

At ER Katy, we believe a close-knit community will be hardwired for giving back, no matter the season. Happy holidays from all of us at ER Katy. Stay safe, warm, and healthy! Learn more about the ways we can help you by visiting Our Website.

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SIX UNFORESEEN DANGERS OF HALLOWEEN

This October 31 an enclave of ghosts, ghouls, and witches will hit the streets looking for treats. Alongside this spooky entourage comes a considerable threat. Emergency rooms are considerably more crowded on holidays, particularly Halloween. Keep your kids safe and be mindful of the 6 Halloween dangers:

1. Car Injury

Car fatalities have a much higher rate on Halloween than any day of the year, with an increase in pedestrians during nighttime when visibility is lowest. That’s a national average of 5.5 deaths each Halloween, compared with an average of 2.6 for the rest of the year. The number is on the rise for teens who are distracted by their mobile phones while driving.

To avoid being struck by a car, act as a defensive pedestrian. Stay out of the roads, keep to the near side of the sidewalk, and carry a flashlight so you can see where you’re going and drivers can see you approaching.

2. Fire

With so many luminaries and jack-o-lanterns on stairs and stoops, Halloween creates a hazardous environment for clumsy kids who may trip on one of those fire-filled gourds. To avoid an accident purchase costumes, wigs, and props that are clearly marked “flame resistant” or “flame retardant,” and make sure costumes aren’t dragging on the floor or hanging over arms. For parties, take precaution to keep candles away from paper decorations like streamers.

3. Food Reactions

Parents should examine all treats for choking hazards, allergies, and tampering before children start digging into their stockpile of treats gathered from the neighborhood. Carefully inspect any fruits or homemade foods for safety. Avoid stomachaches by limiting the amount of candy kids eat in one sitting.

4. Skin Sensitivity

If a costume includes face-paint or hair-dye do a test run on a portion of the skin before Halloween to make sure there’s no allergic reaction. Wash off any paint by the end of the night to avoid dryness, redness and peeling of the face paint.

5. Cuts and Scrapes

Costumes that include accessories such as swords, knives, or batons should be short, soft, and flexible. Play fights can lead to trips and falls. Don’t let your fake weapon cause a real injury.

6. Glow stick “poisoning”

Calls to poison control centers reporting glow stick ingestion increases during Halloween. While drinking the liquid can cause irritation and vomiting, glow sticks are minimally toxic and do not require a trip to the emergency room. If you, your friend, or family member ingests a glowstick or other inedible decoration, immediately contact poison control.

Enjoy the tricks and treats but practice vigilance on Halloween to avoid a nightmare before Christmas.

ERKaty is open 24/7 and their Board-Certified Emergency Medical doctors are ready to help at any hour. Call them at (281) 395-9900.

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KATY HERITAGE SOCIETY TRAIN PAINTING CELEBRATION AT ER KATY

This Saturday, December 5th, 2015, ER Katy will partner with the Katy Heritage Society to host a train painting celebration. Bring the whole family to connect with the community, help preserve Katy’s heritage, and learn a thing or two about railway history. Train enthusiasts of all ages are welcome. We can’t wait to see you!

The train painting celebration will be held directly in front of ER Katy, located at 25765 Katy Freeway near Pin Oak and I-10, in front of the HEB.

The event will take place between 10:00am-2:00pm.

  • The event is completely free to the public.
  • There will be fun activities suitable for all ages.
  • Even children 10 and below can paint designated parts of the train!
  • Local food trailers will be on-site selling tasty and affordable snacks and refreshments.
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ER KATY COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIPS

ER Katy is proud to support the Katy High FFA booster club given their focus on the community, premier leadership, personal growth and career success. The Katy FFA club has deep roots in the Katy community and their members regularly host charitable events with canned food drives, workdays, fundraisers and more.

On September 12th, ER Katy helped sponsor Katy High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) car wash to help raise funds for the club’s continued programming and educational efforts. The event was considered a success! ER Katy’s prime location off of I-10, in front of the HEB, not only provided a great turnout but contributions were made for each car washed by the students.

ER Katy encourages support of the Greater Katy community, throughout the year, with several causes that aim to raise money and awareness for groups involved in education, health, public safety as well as artistic pursuits.

Embrace the spirit of giving back and paying it forward by participating with us in our annual events:

The Teddy Bear Clinic is held several times through the year, invites children and families into our clinic to conduct medical tests and procedures on their favorite cuddly companions. We teach our students everything from using a stethoscope, to performing an X-ray on their Teddy, to writing candy prescriptions.

Scholarships to recent high school students with a focus on art and education.

Katy Contemporary Arts Museum (KCAM), with whom we frequently sponsored lunches to promote healthy living, the arts, and getting social within the community.

ER Katy’s Annual Summer Safety Event We love to collaborate with local public safety and health departments, as well as local sponsors, to promote safety, child ID tagging, socializing, fun-in-the-sun, and health education. Our 2016 event was a success thanks to the Katy community and our sponsors. Contact us here if you’re interested in more information or if you’d like to become a vendor for our next event in May of 2017.

Seasonal 5k, 10k and triathlon events, including: Kingswood Baptist Church 5k/10kKaty Rotary Club Triathlon and the St. John’s XXIII 10k .

It is our long-term mission to keep you informed on health and safety risks, tips, and strategies through our blog and website. Please join our newsletter today to stay updated on our community events to see how you can take part.

ER Katy is “Where you’re treated like family”, open 24/7 and their Board-Certified Emergency Medical doctors are ready to help at any hour. Wait times average less than five minutes! Call us at (281) 395-9900 or visit us online.

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MOTORCYCLE SAFETY: DON’T END UP IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM

Driving a motorcycle requires lots of vigilance, as you don’t have the same level of protection that an enclosed vehicle with airbags provides. Practice these motorcycle safety tips to avoid a trip to the emergency room:

1. Always Wear A Helmet

It should go without saying, but always ride smart and make sure your helmet is securely fastened each and every time you ride.

2. Take A Motorcycle Safety Course

Most states require motorcycle drivers to take a skills test before riding. If your state doesn’t require a safety course, you should still take one anyway. The class will teach you about motorcycle traffic laws specific to your state. You will also learn how to maneuver unsafe riding conditions and emergency situations.

3. Be Mindful of Large Vehicles

Motorcycles can be difficult for drivers to see, especially those behind the wheel of large SUVs and trucks. Never assume that they see you. Always be the one to avoid them, not the other way around.

4. Pay Close Attention

Motorcycles require more distance and time to slow down than an average sedan. An abrupt stop can send you soaring off your bike. Pay close attention when riding, and eliminate any distractions – especially your phone. A distraction that lasts mere seconds could cost you an extended stay in the hospital.

5. Have The Right Gear

Wearing durable fabrics, like leather, protects riders from rocks, bugs and other debr Driving a motorcycle requires lots of vigilance, as you don’t have the same level of protection that an enclosed vehicle with airbags provides. Practice these motorcycle safety tips to avoid a trip to the emergency room:

Follow these motorcycle safety guidelines so you can be prepared for adverse weather and driving conditions, and ride with confidence.

If you do find yourself in a serious accident, head straight for the nearest emergency room immediately.

ERKaty is open 24/7 and their Board-Certified Emergency Medical doctors are ready to help at any hour. Call them at (281) 395-9900.

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ER KATY SUPPORTS SIX LOCAL GRADUATES THROUGH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

With summer upon us and recent grads looking forward to their first year of college, ER Katy is proud to award scholarships to six local high school graduates, ranging from $250 to $1,000.

Each winner wrote an essay explaining why they wanted to enter the medical field, held at least a 3.25 GPA, and volunteered extensively in their community.

The $1,000 first-place scholarship was awarded to Kristen Lee Chadwick of Katy High School. Chadwick will be attending Texas State University, pursuing a degree in psychology and minoring in anthropology and planning to become a behavioral therapist.

Chadwick’s story resonated with the ER Katy judges. “I wrote about my passion for kids with autism,” said Chadwick. In her sophomore year she was invited by a friend to volunteer at Camp Journey, a summer day camp primarily for children with autism.

“As soon as I went I just found myself helping there. I fell in love with all the campers.” She continued to work there all last summer, and this year she is back as a paid worker.

Her passion for helping disadvantaged children developed from her own childhood experience. Her father was in prison throughout her childhood, and her mother didn’t have many resources for the family to live on.

“If someone reached out and helped me, they didn’t realize how much that meant to me.”

The $500 second place winner was Casey Sutton, a Cinco Ranch High School graduate attending Tarleton State University. She is pursuing a major in biomedical science with a focus on premed, and hoping to be a pediatrician or neonatologist.

Joshua Zane Gammons, Micha Simone Johnson, and Emily Zhang tied for 3rd, each receiving $250.

ER Katy is a passionate Katy community supporter, and wishes all the winners the best of luck in their first year of college.

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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE

Heatstroke can become a real and serious threat in the intense heat of Texas summers. Complications arise when your body temperature rises rapidly and has trouble cooling down. Sever cases can be life-threatening, causing damage to the brain and other vital organs. Heatstroke can be caused by strenuous activity outdoors in the summer months, or by being in a hot place for too long.

To prevent heatstroke be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and take breaks in shady, cool places. When out and about pay attention to these warning signs, outlined by WebMD and the Mayo Clinic. Get immediate help if symptoms progress suddenly and severely.

Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater
  • Changes in mental status or behavior, such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech
  • Hot, dry skin or heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache
  • Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults

If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 or your local emergency number. Then immediately move the person out of the heat and cool down by whatever means available, for example:

  • Put the person in a cool – not cold – tub of water or a cool shower.
  • Spray with a garden hose.
  • Sponge with cool water.
  • Fan while misting with cool water.
  • Place ice packs or cool wet towels on the neck, armpits and groin. This is where large blood vessels lie close to the skin surface.
  • Cover with cool damp sheets.
  • Let the person drink cool water if he or she is able.
  • Begin CPR if the person loses consciousness and shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement.
  • Do not give aspirin or acetaminophen to reduce a high body temperature that can occur with heatstroke. These medicines may cause problems because of the body’s response to heatstroke.
  • If the person is awake and alert enough to swallow, give the person fluids [32 fl oz (1 L) to 64 fl oz (2 L) over 1 to 2 hours] for hydration. Most people with heatstroke have an altered level of consciousness and cannot safely be given fluids to drink. You may have to help. Make sure the person is sitting up enough so that he or she does not choke.
  • Remove the person’s unnecessary clothing and place the person on his or her side to expose as much skin surface to the air as possible.

Contact the staff at ERKaty for emergency medical treatment if you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of heatstroke

ERKaty is open 24/7 and their Board-Certified Emergency Medical doctors are ready to help at any hour. Call them at (281) 395-9900.