Is My Sore Throat STREP?

Your throat is killing you, and judging from how badly it hurts, you think it might be strep…but are there any other clues to tell you when to head in to see your doctor? Well, yes, there are! Turns out there are four signs that strongly suggest your sore throat might be caused by “strep” bacteria:

1. Fever (TAKE your temperature! True fever is temp 100.4*)
2. NO COUGH
3. Swollen, red tonsils (with our without bonus “pus” on them)
4. Tender, enlarged “glands” (lymph nodes) in the front of your neck

If you have only a couple of these … Read more

Wait, Is It Broken?

“I can move it, so it’s clearly not broken…” Maybe, maybe not! In primary care settings, the majority of fractures that we treat are diagnosed days after they occur (sometimes weeks), ignored because of this myth. Wrist fractures are particularly notorious for late diagnosis, because there is rarely dramatic bruising, deformity, or swelling. Finger, foot, and ankle fractures often display more impressive dark bruising and swelling, but even with these injuries, the affected area can most frequently still be moved voluntarily (albeit with significant discomfort). Muscles, ligaments and tendons MOVE the bones…and they can move broken bones as well as … Read more

Freshman Insomnia: Seven Tips To Get More ZZZ

As September settles in, college freshman are anything but settled. Instead, these students are rollercoastering through major life adjustments, especially those living in dorms or other shared spaces. Extra noises, unsettled sleep patterns, academic adjustments, general anxiety and bedtime social media browsing that skyrockets FOMO*(Fear Of Missing Out) often blend together and create sleepless nights that can trigger a downward spiral of fatigue, trouble concentrating, and poor grades…which leads to anxiety and more difficulty sleeping. What can students do to try and stop this cycle? Start with these seven steps:

  1. CONSISTENT SLEEP (and AWAKE) TIMES- with MWF and T/Th schedules,
Read more

Sunscreen 101

See that shot glass? BURN that image into your memory, because believe it or not, that’s how much you should use every time you apply sunscreen! What else do you need to know? Here’s my Sunscreen 101.

Let’s start with SPF. What does it mean? Sun Protection Factor is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect the wearer against UV radiation from UVB. Note that the sun produces both UVA and UVB, and BOTH cause damage that can lead to skin cancers. Right now, though, the SPF only addresses the UVB protection. So, SPF means that compared to bare … Read more

Freaking Out Over FINALS? You’re Not Alone!

Intense test anxiety affects up to 20% of college students, and this time of year is the WORST. Finals are approaching, projects and papers are due, and added pressure from mistakes earlier in the semester can push students over the edge. Students (and their parents) often question whether they feel different than everyone else- is this “normal” or should they seek help?

With a typical student, test day adrenaline might cause extra bathroom trips up until the test starts, a racing heart and anxious anticipation, but once she starts answering questions, the physical symptoms subside enough for the … Read more

Are Vaccines Safe?

The MEASLES outbreak has again rekindled the fires of passion that surround VACCINES in the United States. As a family physician and mom, to me there is no debate. VACCINES SAVE LIVES. Are there risks with vaccines? Yes, (mostly transiently sore arms) but they are minor compared to the risks of the diseases that they minimize or prevent. Does my family vaccinate our children and ourselves? YES. We also wear seat belts, exercise, and try to make healthy food choices…but I digress.

In our country, we are fortunate to have extensive health monitoring systems in place, particularly in regards to … Read more

Ankle Sprain? Do THIS to Fully Heal and Avoid “Weak Ankles”

College students seem to have more than their fair share of ankle sprains, likely courtesy of ridiculously competitive intramural sports, spike heels on uneven parking lots, rainy/icy days coupled with oversleeping-induced-rushing to class, and oh yes, alcohol-induced wobbling. And don’t get me started about electric scooters…At any rate, the vast majority (~85%) of injured ankles are sprains, and one sprained ankle often leads to a cycle of other injuries, from repeat sprains and “weak ankles” to knee or hip issues. Let’s talk about what to expect and and what you can do to avoid this pathway.

First things first- … Read more

Spring Break 2019: Alcohol Cheat sheet

Spring Break is here, and students everywhere are gearing up for a week-long party. ALCOHOL is typically a focus of these festivities, so here’s my #twitter-sized advice for every college student:

  • If you have a THIRD drink, you’re legally drunk. DON’T DRIVE. Please note, this is a third drink measured by the book (not a “college pour” of alcohol into a plastic red cup- those cups hold several servings in just one glass).
  • Prescription Pain Pills + ALCOHOL= DEATH! Narcotic pain killers like Vicodin or codeine often find their way to spring break as well, whether that is
Read more

Stinging “No-See-Ums” of the Sea

Heading to a beach for Spring Break? VINEGAR (not ALCOHOL) is the ANSWER…

Have you ever jumped into the ocean and suddenly felt something stinging your arms or legs?  I’m not talking about jellyfish here, but the “no-see-ums” of the sea.

The picture above is from the Na’ Pali coastline in Hawaii. While snorkeling there, a small group of the swimmers (including myself and one daughter) were bothered enough by invisible “stings” to get back on the boat. Meanwhile the majority of snorkelers were completely fine, despite swimming right next to other people who were being stung. Back on the … Read more

Can’t (cough) Stop (cough) COUGHING?

COUGHS often seem to hang around FOREVER, and this year’s flu season has been a prime culprit.

Allergies certainly can cause coughs as well, but typically allergy coughs are more the dry, annoying, clear-your-throat variety, rather than the wet sounding coughing fits (that worsen every evening and prevent sleep) which come from viral respiratory infections. Typically there are a few days of headaches, fever, body aches, sore throats and stuffy nose, but then the cough itself may persist for up to SIX WEEKS after the initial illness.

Is there anything that can be done for a cough that wont go Read more