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Q In a mad rush to get dinner on the table, you grab the handle of a hot pan. Ouch! Your skin immediately gets red and starts to blister a little. Is it: A minor burn or a thirddegree burn? MINOR BURN. Yes, it hurts. But if you grabbed the pan and put it down right away, you're probably safe to treat it with cold water, cold compresses and acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, Kaplan says. Even if the skin starts to blister, you're probably still in the clear to treat it with antibiotic ointment. Don't pop that blister, though. The broken skin invites bacteria that could lead to infection, Kaplan warns. And if red streaks move up your arm, you've splashed yourself with hot oil, or the skin looks doughy but isn't painful, get to the emergency department. These are signs of a more significant burn. Q Your son took a tumble down the stairs and hit his head against the wall as he tried to break his fall. You check him all over and nothing seems broken, but a knot is popping up on his head. Is it: A bump or a concussion? BUMP. He didn't lose consciousness. He seems like his normal, albeit clumsy, self. And he's not repeating the same questions without seeming to hear the answer, something called perseveration. Such behavior would indicate concussion, Kaplan says. Nausea and vomiting would be other worrisome signs, perhaps caused by increased pressure inside the skull. If those symptoms surface, seek care, Kaplan says. For now, it's best to keep a close eye on him over the next 24 to 48 hours to make sure he's with it and not feeling nauseated or overly sleepy. Q Dashing to an afternoon meeting, you round the corner of your office and turn your ankle. Aside from wishing you'd worn sneakers, you're in pain and wondering whether something is broken as you hobble to the conference room. Is it: A break or a sprain? SPRAIN. Look, you're still walking on it without too much trouble, right? That's a good sign of a sprain rather than a fracture. You'll want to stay off the ankle, elevate it and apply cold compresses for 20 to 30 minutes at a time for about four hours, Kaplan says. "The more you keep it elevated, the less swollen it's going to be. The less swollen it is, the more quickly it will heal," he says. Q After an evening of too many chips and some really spicy Mexican food with friends, you're feeling nagging discomfort in the lower part of your chest. Is it: Indigestion or a heart problem? PROBABLY INDIGESTION. But, as Kaplan notes, you don't mess around with chest pain. If you're having pain that you can't explain from say, catching a football against your chest or having tried to eat your weight in habaneroladen salsa, you're best served getting medical attention. This is particularly true for someone who has a family history of heart problems, is overweight, has high blood pressure or cholesterol, or smokes cigarettes, Kaplan says. Q You're really sick and have been running a fever that won't come down. You're bedbound and sore all over, particularly around your neck. Is it: A run-of-the-mill virus or meningitis? COULD BE MENINGITIS. Many people consider a fever high when it reaches 102 and might head to the emergency department, though the fever is probably treatable with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, Kaplan says. But the addition of neck stiffness and headaches might signal something serious such as meningitis, an infection that causes swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Get to the emergency department "if there's a stiff neck or alteration in consciousness, they're not taking in fluids or not acting themselves," he says. n VIDEO Heart Attack in Women Learn about the symptoms you might not expect by watching a short video starring actress Elizabeth Banks at bit.ly/1bdKZ49. WIN TE R 2016 43 http://www.bit.ly/1bdKZ49

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center

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