Shingles

Shingles rash

Shingles typically appear in a belt like rash on the torso, neck, or face.

Though we may hear the term “Shingles” used off and on in today’s world, I find that few actually understand what the viral infection Shingles is. Shingles comes from the Varicella-Zoster virus, the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. Once a person has contracted Chicken Pox, the virus actually remains dormant in the nerve tissue around the spinal cord and brain. Should the virus “awaken”, the person will contract Shingles. Most adults these days have had Chicken Pox, and therefore already house the virus capable of causing Shingles. This will change in coming years as now the Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccine is common in today’s childhood immunizations. If you are an adult and have never had Chicken Pox, it is a good idea to get immunized.

Shingles is often painful, often characterized by sharp pains, burning, and numbness, typically in a belt that wraps around one side of the abdomen. Shingles is not limited to this area though, and can even develop on the face, neck, or near the eyes. The pain associated with Shingles typically surfaces first, followed by a rash that in turn blisters. Once the rash has blistered, it is in fact contagious. Should someone contract the virus from the blister, they will develop Chicken Pox, not Shingles. Once the blisters scab over, you should no longer be contagious.

If you experience a painful, blistering rash on a side of your body, face, or neck, oftentimes accompanied by fever, sensitivity to light, fatigue, or headache, it is highly recommended you contact your doctor. Though there is no cure for Shingles, the sooner it is detected and treatment is administered,  the lower the likelihood of complications. If left untreated, the Shingles virus can cause vision damage, skin infection, nerve problems, and lasting pain. It is especially important to note, that if you are above the age of 70, have a weakened immune system, or are in direct contact with someone with a weakened immune system, OR if your rash is near your eyes, you seek medical attention immediately. All of these situations can lead to severe complications if left untreated. Typically upon seeking medical treatment, an antiviral is prescribed, and depending on severity, something to help alleviate discomfort. The lifespan of Shingles typically runs anywhere from two to six weeks.

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, we highly recommend you seek medical attention. If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, please call Dr. Holt with your symptoms, and he will be happy to advise your next course of action. If you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer members unlimited monthly office visits with no copay, same or next day appointments, longer appointment times, and 24/7 access to the doctor! 417-485-4847

 

Weight Loss

Weight Loss Goals VIP Medical Services

There are many motivations to lose weight

As the weather turns warmer and the sun makes its’ presence more known, it’s not unusual for our thoughts to drift to images of beaches, lakes, boating, and inevitably… swim suits, shorts, and tank tops. If the thought of that apparel after a long winter and holiday indulgence makes you shudder, you’re not alone. By now, we may have slid off the wagon a bit on our well intentioned, albeit lofty, New Year’s Weight Loss Resolutions. We are back to the daily grind, and oftentimes, our health or weight loss goals get put on the back burner.weight loss scale

Though we may not be making weight loss progress like we would like, that doesn’t make the desire to be fitter, healthier versions of ourselves any less real. Some of us just need to shed our holiday weight, others are looking to get back to a pre baby physique, and some are in the pursuit of a “beach body”. Others of us, however, are hoping to alleviate back, joint, and muscle pain, some of us would desperately like to get our Type 2 Diabetes under control, and others are just hoping to find a way to manager their high cholesterol and blood pressure without more medication. It’s amazing how many different situations and needs can be solved with weight loss. Of course, the million dollar question is… how?? We have probably all tried at least some diet or weight loss technique, so what are we going to do this time? How are we going to successfully lose weight quickly? Luckily there are several ways to go about it, depending on your own personal situation and preferences.

  • Reduce Calorie Intake, Increase Calories Burned
    • The most traditional method of weight loss, tracking your calorie intake and staying between 1200-1500 calories a day, while increasing your calories burned via exercise, provides a safe, gradual weight loss. This is only effective if you consciously monitor how many calories you consumer, and exercise regularly to burn calories.
  • Follow an Exclusion Diet
    • Several diets exist in which you do not count calories, but you exclude certain food groups. Some include eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, dairy, and more. This is often difficult for people to eliminate entire groups of food and can end in regaining weight one the diet period is over.
  • Weight Loss Medication
    • Today’s market is flooded with diet pills and supplements. Many promise weight loss fast with little to no effort on the part of the consumer, other than using the product. However, there are actually prescription medications designed for this purpose also. If you feel that this is the best route for you, please consult with your doctor to find the best, safest fit for you.
  • Regimented Diet Programs
    • For those that find measuring, calculating, and cooking to be overwhelming and ineffective, there are still options! Some diets provide your food and plans for you to be successful. Most of these plans require consumption of several meals of the plan’s food daily, and then ideas and regulations for foods you prepare for yourself.weight loss jeans

In any weight loss quest, it is best to consult your doctor first. If you are experiencing rapid weight loss, it is important to monitor your health and ensure you aren’t losing any key nutrients in the process. At VIP Medical Services, we offer several different ways for our members to pursue their weight loss goals. In addition to exploring weight loss medications, we also offer a medically supervised weight loss plan that pairs very low calorie meal supplement items with weekly weigh ins, monitoring, and coaching. If weight loss is a goal of yours, give us a call at 417-485-4847 to see how we can help! In addition, if you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer a higher standard of primary care at affordable prices.

 

Parched Winter Skin?

Is the ever changing winter weather getting your skin down? Today our in house esthetics pro Crystal Davis of VIP Esthetics stops by to fill us in on how to keep our skin looking and feeling it’s best, even during the winter.

Winter Dry Skin Treatment

Don’t let winter’s drying and dulling effects hurt your skin.


Cold weather may leave your face, hands, and skin looking and feeling dull and lifeless. The drop in temperature causes the top layer of your skin to lose it’s oil, which helps hold in moisture. Dry skin leads to flaking, cracking, and even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed). Here are my tips to help battle dry winter skin.

1. Seek Help
Seek advice from your esthetician. They can do a skin analysis to try and help solve any issues you may be encountering, and guide you in your skin care regimen.

2. Moisturize
Moisturizing should be a part of EVERYBODY’S daily skin care routine, no matter your skin type. Even those with normal to oily skin should use a daily moisturizer. Moisturizing can be the key to making your skin look and feel better, especially during the winter months. If you have sensitive skin, look for a moisturizer that is fragrance free with little to no preservatives. Both can cause your skin more irritation.

3. Apply Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen is not something we all think about during the winter. Most people only think to wear sunscreen if we have a day of fun in the sun planned. To avoid damage from the sun, make sunscreen a part of your daily skin care routine – no matter the season. Don’t forget your ears and into your hairline when applying.

4. Use a Humidifier
Central heating systems and space heaters cause the air in our homes to dry out. Use a humidifier to put moisture back in the air and in your skin. If you don’t have a humidifier, boil a pot of water and the steam will add moisture to the air.

5. Avoid Extremely Hot Baths
A super hot bath or shower can actually break down the lipid barrier in our skin, which could cause it to lose moisture. Be sure to moisturize immediately afterward while your skin is still somewhat damp to lock in the moisture throughout the day or night.

6. Hydrate
Be sure you are getting the appropriate amount of water daily. If you divide your body weight by two, that is how many ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, divided by two is 60, and that is how many ounces of water your body needs daily. Drinking plenty of water is good for your overall health, and will improve the texture and appearance of your skin.

Thank you so much for that helpful information, Crystal! If you have questions or are interested in a skin analysis or one of Crystal’s many other services, please call her at 417-485-4847 or visit her website: VIPesthetics.com

Flu Shots

Believe it or not… it is THAT time of year again. The coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and sore throats are already making their way through our schools and homes. With this time of year, we begin to see such symptoms and start fearing the dreaded flu. How do we protect ourselves and our families from such sickness? While there are certain healthy life choices we can make to lessen our odds, our best option is the flu shot. While the flu shot is not a catchall, it drastically reduces our odds of contracting the worst forms of the flu. Many people have misconceptions on what the shot does and does not do, so let’s approach what the flu shot is, what it does, and why it may be a good choice for you.

Flu Shots Ozark MO

Flu Season is upon us, time for flu shots!

The flu vaccine comes in two forms: injection and nasal mist, both of which will protect against the H1N1 strain of flu as well as several other strains predicted to circulate this year. The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone ages 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine, but how you receive it may be up to you. The injection form of the vaccine contains an inactive form of the virus, and is safe for people 6 months and older. Since with this form you receive an inactive virus, you cannot transmit the flu to anyone. Some may opt for the nasal mist vaccine, available to healthy people ages 2-49. The nasal mist is given through a spray (no shot needed) which contains a weakened, yet live, flu virus. In rare cases the flu can be transmitted to others with this option. In either case, the vaccine allows your body to develop antibodies necessary to ward off the flu virus.

I often hear people say they don’t get the flu vaccine, because they got it once and then got the flu. The flu vaccine will never give you the flu, however, there may be some reasons why people think this. Some people have a reaction to the vaccine, therefore having muscle soreness and fever for a few days, and those that receive the mist may even have runny nose, congestion, headache, and sore throat. This is just the body adjusting to the vaccine. In addition, the vaccine takes about 2 weeks to become totally effective, so if you are exposed to the virus during that window, you could get the flu (just another reason to get vaccinated early!). The flu vaccine is created months before flu season hits, therefore it is possible that the strains the vaccine is built to protect against may not be those that circulate, making contracting the flu a possibility. Last, many sicknesses mimic the flu, but are not influenza itself, often leading people to believe they have the flu.

Assuming the flu strains that circulate this year are covered by the vaccine, the vaccine is 71% effective in adults, 77% in adults 50+, and 74% effective in children. These odds are definitely great enough to see the value in receiving the vaccine. Even if you have had the vaccine in the past, it is important you get it again this year, as the vaccine is always changing to make sure it protects against relevant strains of the virus, not to mention, the effectiveness of old vaccines decrease over time. If you pair the vaccine with healthy choices like regular hand washing, using alcohol based sanitizer, avoid touching your face, as well as keeping yourself healthy with plenty of sleep, exercise, fluids, nutritious foods, and stress management, you should be able to face flu season with confidence.

If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, feel free to call Dr. Holt or the office with further questions. If you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer a higher standard of primary care at affordable prices. 417-485-4847

 

 

 

Reason #1,890,903 That You are Glad Dr. Holt is YOUR Doctor!

Check out a recent press release for the office, Dr. Holt and the practice are doing great things!!

When Dr. Billy Holt decided in January of 2014 to open his new Direct Primary Care practice, VIP Medical Services, he had hopes of being able to finally give patients the care they deserved. After practicing locally for six years and caring for a patient panel of 5,000+ people, he knew the time was right to pursue a new type of practice. After opening the doors to VIP Medical Services in Ozark in April of 2014, locals gradually got wind of the membership based practice that Dr. Holt and his wife, Tonya, had established. Since the practice is under the Direct Primary Care model, Dr. Holt does not file with any insurance. Patients with or without insurance are welcome to be members, their care just cannot be filed with insurance, should they have coverage. Because of this, Dr. Holt is able to keep costs down at the office, and is able to limit his patient panel to several hundred people. This all in turn benefits his patients, who are scheduled in one hour appointment slots, guaranteed same or next day appointments, able to access labs, EKG, XRAY, and more for pennies on the dollar, and have 24/7 access to their doctor via email and cell phone.

This past week, Dr. Holt was able to take his aspirations of a higher standard of affordable patient care to a new level, when he had the opportunity to impact two of his members in a huge way, both physically and financially. After hearing of a brand new drug aimed to treat those with sever Cholesterol, two current members immediately came to mind. Both in their early thirties, each had already suffered a heart attack, and one had even undergone open heart bypass surgery. Though he was hopeful this would be a good fit for the patients, the drug was only weeks old, no generic offered, and costs around $1,200 monthly, not yet covered by most insurance. The clinic immediately contacted a local drug representative for the company, as well as speaking with the drug manufacturer themselves, to ensure this was a viable options for the patients. Confident that this could prolong healthy lives for his patients, Dr. Holt was able to procure and submit paperwork to the drug manufacturer in application for a patient assistance program, as one had some insurance, but one was uninsured. to Dr. Holt’s delight, both were approved for free medicine, at a cost savings of roughly $15,000 a year. Dr. Holt is quick to credit his new practice for giving him the availability to not only know his patients and their medical backgrounds better, but also giving him the time to be able to research new treatments, and subsequently try to procure them for his patients. He excitedly noted that he was even able to bring the patients back to the office for an educational session on how to administer the new drug, as it is taken through injection instead of pill. By the clinic investing this time, patient lives have undoubtedly been enhanced. This new medication will lower their cholesterol beyond what their current medications were able, thus giving the chance for a healthier, longer life. Dr. Holt hopes that this is the first of many of these situations, and could not be more excited for what the future at the clinic holds.

 

Diabetes

Though we may hear the term “Diabetes” used frequently, many are still confused about, or not aware of, the large difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics. Type 1 Diabetes used to be known as “Juvenile or Insulin-Dependent” Diabetes, as it typically surfaces in children and young adults, and is caused by a total lack of Insulin in the body. Type 1 Diabetics actually experience their immune system attacking insulin producing cells, thus resulting in their total lack of insulin. Type 2 Diabetics were formally known as “Adult Onset or Non Insulin-Dependent”, as most Type 2 Diabetics are diagnosed in adulthood. Recently though, more and more children are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a condition that either occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or resists the effects of insulin.

One of the greatest differences between the two types, is that Type 1 Diabetes is unavoidable, and Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented, or the onset can be delayed. Type 2 Diabetes can typically be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight, living a healthy lifestyle with healthy food choices, and regular exercise.

Some preliminary symptoms of Diabetes include:

Type 1:

  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred Vision
  • Unexpected Weight Loss
  • Frequent Urination
  • Extreme Hunger
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Irritability and Mood Changes

Type 2:

  • Some or all of the symptoms included above
  • Slow healing sores or infections
  • Areas of darkened skin, typically on neck or armpit creases

One of the largest differences between the onset and diagnosis of Diabetes is that Type 1 symptoms become very serious, rather quickly, often landing the patient under medical care due to the medical severity of having high blood sugar. Type 2 Diabetics typically experience a much slower onset, and can potentially go undiagnosed for years.

Treatment of both types of Diabetes also varies, as Type 1 Diabetics require regular insulin injection to allow their body to turn sugar to energy. Type 2 Diabetics are often treated just by adapting healthier lifestyles, complete with healthy eating, regular exercise, and blood sugar monitoring. Some Type 2 Diabetics also use Diabetes medication or insulin monitoring.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes and must be medically managed, and Type 2 Diabetes requires medical intervention, but letting either go without consulting a doctor can cause serious health implications. Complication from Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure, and can also lead to heart disease, stroke, and lower extremity amputation. If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, please call Dr. Holt with your symptoms, and he will be happy to advise your next course of action. If you are already Diabetic and looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer many healthy lifestyle management programs, as well as offer Diabetic education programming. 417-485-4847

Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Bites

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite…

But if they DO, we want you to know what to do! Lately bedbugs have been a hot topic, as we see more and more reports of people acquiring bites across the country. It does seem as if there has been an influx of bedbug reports, and although it is uncertain on the cause of the increase, it certainly doesn’t hurt to arm yourself with a little knowledge to know what to do and what to look for.

Bedbugs, even as adults, are small – the size of an appleseed, with their eggs and youth being almost invisible to the naked eye. Skilled at hiding, bedbugs are so thin that they can even fit in places that only a credit card can fit, making them oftentimes difficult to initially detect. Preferred hiding locations include mattresses, box springs, and bed frames, but can even include electrical outlets or seams of carpeting and wallpaper. Bedbugs cannot fly, but can cover ground quickly, and travel by attaching to clothing or belongings.

Bedbug Life Cycle Pictures

Stages of Life from Egg to Adult of a Bedbug

Telltale signs of bedbugs include blood or small, dark, or rusty colored spots on sheets, bedding, and upholstery from bed bugs being crushed or from their excrement. In addition, it is not uncommon to find eggs, eggshells, or young bedbug skin shells at the site of infestation. In sites of high infestation, you will likely find groups of live bugs as well.

Picture of Bedbug on Mattress

Bedbug Infestation on Mattress

The initial bite of a bedbug is typically painless, but turns into a welt and itches shortly after the bite is acquired. These bites can often be confused with other types of bugs, though these itchy bumps can happen anywhere on the body (not centered around the ankles like fleas) and have no center red bite mark. Thankfully, bedbugs do not transmit disease, and are more of a nuisance than a serious health risk. In places of high infestation, it is often difficult to rid an area of them, as they are skilled at hiding and can withstand high temperatures, and the eggs are often resistant to chemical treatment.

Bedbug Bites

Bedbug Bites

While bedbug infestations can be treated on your own, it can often be a lengthy process to totally remedy the situation. You may consider consulting a professional if the situation is beyond your control, or if you need results quickly. Some things to remember:

-If you live in a multiunit structure (like apartment), a landlord will need to be notified as this can spread to other units

-Make sure to empty the vacuum and dispose of the contents quickly when vacuuming the bed, furniture, or bedroom area

-Carefully inspect used furniture and bed/mattresses/box springs before purchase. This is a very popular way for bedbugs to travel and spread

-If you have infested furniture that is not treatable and must be disposed of, make sure this furniture is destroyed or marked so that the infestation will not travel

If you think that you have received bedbug bites and would like a medical opinion or treatment, and are a member of VIP Medical Services, feel free to call Dr. Holt with your symptoms, and he will be happy to advise your next course of action. If you are looking for a new Primary Care Provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! 417-485-4847

Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke

As we hit the Dog Days of Summer, it is so important to keep yourself current with ways to stay safe in the heat. Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and even Heat Stroke can happen quite easily when the temps soar, or when being active during summer months outdoors. Arm yourself with ways to protect yourself, and what the warning signs are, to make sure your “Fun in the Sun” remains just that.

Effects of Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke!

Effects of Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke!

One way to avoid these heat related maladies is to stay hydrated! The body’s weight is approximately 60% water, and when you become dehydrated, your body is not able to perform vital functions. The old “8 cups of water a day” recommendation is actually found to not be enough, especially if you are in intense heat or doing intense exercise. If you partake in intense exercise, particularly outdoors in the heat, also add sports drunks to your water intake to avoid sodium depletion. Aside from staying hydrated, avoid the hottest time of the middle of the day, wear appropriate clothing, try to stay in the shade, and use all proper sun protection precautions (see our blog on Sun Safety, too!).

If you think you may be experiencing or witnessing a heat related medical situation, look for these symptoms:

Dehydration:

– Dark colored urine, or no urination at all.

– Listlessness, Dizziness,  Irritability, Confusion

-Sunken Eyes

-Dry, shriveled skin

-Rapid heartbeat and breathing

Heat Exhaustion:

-Fatigue, Nausea, Headache

-Excessive Thirst

-Slowed heartbeat

-Dizziness, Fainting, Agitation, Weakness

-Muscle Aches and Cramps

-Profuse sweating and cold/clammy skin

Heat Stroke:

-Nausea, Vomiting, Headaches

-Dizziness, Fatigue, Confusion, and even Loss of Consciousness

-Flushed, Hot, Dry skin (Decreased or no sweating /urination)

-Convulsion

-Rapid heartbeat

-Heightened body temp (104 F to 106 F)

-Blood in Urine or Stool

If you witness any of these symptoms, seek medical attention! The effects can be fatal. You do not necessarily have to experience Heat Exhaustion before you reach Heat Stroke, and this can happen suddenly. If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, feel free to call Dr. Holt with your symptoms, and he will be happy to advise your next course of action. If you are looking for a new Primary Care Provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! 417-485-4847

Bee Stings and Spider Bites

One of the more feared parts of spending time outdoors as the weather turns warmer are the bites and stings offered by spiders and bees/wasps.  While most of these bites and stings are harmless albeit uncomfortable, it is important to know how to treat them to aid healing and limit discomfort, as well as what symptoms warrant higher care.  We also want you to know some tips for avoiding spider bites and bee stings, and how to detect which bugs are most dangerous.

Yellow Jacket

It is important to note that bee stings can be deadly, depending on whether you are allergic to the stings.  If you find yourself with a sting, it is always a good idea to let someone else know that you have been stung, just in case you have an adverse reaction.  Luckily, for the most part, stings can be avoidable.  When trying to avoid bee/wasp/yellow jacket stings:

  • Avoid wearing strong fragrances or highly scented beauty products, and avoid wearing brightly colored clothing.  Anything that is flower-like such as scent or color will attract them to you.
  • Wear shoes, many stings happen on the ground.
  • Be mindful about what food and beverages you keep outdoors with you, especially at outdoor cookouts and parties. Bees are drawn to sweet beverages and foods, and will put you at a higher risk of stings.
  • If a bee does come near you, try not to swat or make sudden movements.  Be as still as possible until it has passed.  Bees act in defense, so coming too close to a nest or swatting will trigger a defensive sting.

When attempting to avoid spider bites:

  • Use insecticide
  • Avoid wood and rock piles and/or dark, warm, places spiders are likely to populate
  • Be aware of webs, especially low-lying ones that may not catch your eye
  • When inside, shake out bedding or clothing before using, and move beds away from walls
  • Plug or seal any openings to the outdoors
  • Consider having certain areas of home sprayed if prevalent with spiders
Black Widow Female

Black Widow Female

img_Brown-Recluse-Spider_233x235

The two most harmful spiders to make yourself familiar with are the Black Widow, and the Brown Recluse.  Both spiders can be found in our area, though the Brown Recluse is much more common.  Black Widow spiders are noted by a glossy black coloring and a red hourglass shaped marking on the underside of the female, whom are often 1.5 inches in length.  Male Black Widows are smaller and exhibit spot marking on their backs.  Black Widows prefer dark, dry, out of the way places.  They hang in their webs only at night, so unless disturbed, bites are rather rare.  Brown Recluse spiders are light brown in color and are recognizable by a darker brown violin shaped marking on their back, behind their eyes.  These spiders are, as their name states, reclusive, and are most active at night.  These spiders place their webs inside structures such as furniture, garages, closets, basements, building structures, etc.  Again, unless touched or provoked, these spiders do not typically attack humans.

If you find yourself with a bite from a Black Widow or a Brown Recluse, call your doctor’s office right away.  If you find yourself with an unknown spider bite, clean with soap and water, elevate if on an arm or leg, use cool compresses, and use over the counter medications such as Benadryl, Ibuprofen, or Tylenol for pain and inflammation.  If you find yourself with a sting, first, remove the stinger.  Scrape the area to extract the stinger rather than pinch – you run the risk of more venom being deposited.  Next, similar to the spider bite, elevate if on an arm or leg and use cool compresses to control swelling.  You can also use over the counter pain and inflammation relief, as well as antihistamines to control itching.

In the event of a sting, call 911 or head to the emergency room if:

  • There is a known history of allergies or severe reactions to stings
  • Swelling occurs in tongue
  • There is trouble breathing, tightness of throat, trouble speaking
  • Hives occur
  • Feelings of dizziness or faintness

In the event of a spider bite, call 911 or head to the emergency room if you have:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing, or have wheezing and hoarseness
  • Intense stomach pain or cramps
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Rash or hives
  • Sever itching, cramping, or even numbness
  • Facial swelling in areas of mouth (lips/tongue/throat) or eyes

If you believe you have received a sting or bite and are experiencing non emergent symptoms and would like a medical opinion, reach out to your primary care provider.  If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, feel free to send Dr. Holt a text or email with your symptoms (if it is outside of office hours), and he will be happy to advise your next course of action.  If you are looking for a new Primary Care Provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! 417-485-4847

 

Sun Safety & How to Treat Sunburn

Don't make this same mistake this summer, practice sun safety!

Don’t make this same mistake this summer, practice sun safety!

With summer right around the corner, it should come as no surprise that now is the time to step up your sun safety precautions. While sun safety is something that should be practiced year round, now is a great time to brush up on some sun safety tips to get a great practice in place. Even with a solid sun safety regimen in place, accidents can happen. In the case of burns, we also want to arm you with tips on how to treat and relieve sunburns at home, as well as when to see a doctor in severe situations.

Prevention is the best way to keep your skin healthy and youthful, as well as skin cancer free. Great practices on how to protect yourself from the sun include:

  • Avoid direct sun exposure between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM
  • Wear sunscreen every day, regardless of weather or season. Utilize a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 so you are protected against UVA and UVB rays
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours if you are sweating or swimming
  • Use sunglasses with total UV protection
  • Wear brimmed hats and long sleeves and pants when possible
  • Check skin regularly for developments or changes
  • Don’t use tanning beds!

If you find yourself with a sunburn, immediately get out of the sun! Sunburns often take hours to develop to their full intensity, so be mindful of any feeling of burning or pink/red coloration of skin and seek shade. Once you are out of the sun, the quicker you take action on your burn, the better. You have the ability to lessen your discomfort, as well as possibly lessen the damage done to your skin by taking quick action. Treatment of the burn should include:

  • Take ibuprofen and utilize cold compresses to reduce inflammation. Compresses can utilize cold water, witch hazel, tea bags, milk, or aluminum acetate (found at drugstores)
  • Don’t shower or bathe in hot water, don’t use soap if possible, and only pat dry with a towel. Only take cool showers or baths with soothing add ins such as oatmeal, vinegar, or baking soda
  • Moisturize! This will help the severity of the itching and peeling. Try to use a moisturizer that has both Vitamin C and E, Aloe, or Soy. You can also try Hydrocortisone cream to reduce discomfort and inflammation as well.
  • Drink extra fluids, as the burn will have a dehydrating effect on the rest of your body
  • Do not agitate the healing process by trying to peel skin before it is ready or hurt blisters
Try these househould items to relieve your sunburn

Try these househould items for sunburn relief:

If you develop fever, chills, nausea, faintness, heavy blistering, burns on more than 20% of your body, or intense itchiness or pain, you may have a severe burn that needs medical treatment. If you develop even one of these symptoms with your sunburn, we recommend you call your primary care provider as a precaution. It is important to note that some prescriptions cause photosensitivity and therefore make you more susceptible to burns and skin damage. If you take any medication regularly, we suggest you review with your doctor to ensure you are aware of this potential side effect. Even after your burns have gone, your skin will take months to return to normal. The new skin that surfaced as a result of the burn is extremely sensitive, so be sure to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe. We hope you have a wonderful summer and (safely) get out and enjoy the sunshine!