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Abdominal Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and When to Call a Doctor

Almost everyone feels abdominal pain at some point, and most of the time it’s not serious.

However, while this is generally a good thing, it may also make it difficult to determine when it’s time to see a doctor for your abdominal pain. This is because your pain level does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing it. In this blog post, your trusted provider of Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches shares the basics of abdominal pain that you need to be aware of.

What are the Types of Abdominal Pain?

Many major organs are situated in the abdomen: the small and large intestines, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix, spleen, and kidneys. Often, an inflammation or disease of any of these organs causes abdominal pain. 

When you come in for urgent care due to abdominal pain, one of the first things the medical team will try to find out is the type of pain you are experiencing. By finding this out, they may then determine the possible cause of the pain. This also gives them a starting point for tests and treatments. The most common types of abdominal pain can be described in the following ways: 

  • Generalized abdominal pain means that it affects most of your stomach area. This type of pain is more common for viral gastroenteritis, gas or indigestion. More severe generalized abdominal pain might be caused by a serious condition, such as a blockage of the intestines. 

  • Localized abdominal pain means that the pain is focused in one part of the stomach area. This type of abdominal pain can sometimes be a sign of a problem with an organ, such as the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach. 

  • Cramps can cause severe abdominal pain but most of the time they are not a serious problem. Cramps are often accompanied by diarrhea, gas and bloating. 

  • Colicky abdominal pain comes and goes in waves. This type of abdominal pain can start and end suddenly, and it can often feel sharp and severe. Often, this type of pain can be caused by kidney stones or gallstones. 

What are the Possible Causes of Abdominal Pain?

There are a number of conditions that can cause abdominal pain. However, the main causes are:

  • Inflammation

  • Infection

  • Obstruction or blockage

  • Abnormal growths, such as tumors and ulcers

  • Intestinal disorders

Furthermore, a physician will also determine whether your symptoms are caused by infections in the blood, intestines, or throat. These infections can cause bacteria to move into your digestive tract, causing abdominal pain as well as other symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation.

In general, the less serious and most common causes of abdominal pain and discomfort are the following:

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting

  • Food allergies

  • Acid reflux

  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

  • Stress

Meanwhile, diseases that largely cause chronic abdominal pain include:

On the other hand, the conditions that typically cause severe acute abdominal pain are:

  • Organ rupture, a common example of which is a burst appendix

  • Gallbladder stones and inflammation

  • Kidney stones and/or infection

Is Stomach Pain a Sign of COVID?

Fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath are some of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19. However, a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology suggested that abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting may also be early indicators of COVID-19. 

It’s important to keep in mind that if you experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or a combination of any of those symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. However, it’s wise to pay extra attention to your health and such symptoms at this time. For your peace of mind and safety, it’s best to undergo COVID-19 testing in Palm Beach.

A Reminder: The Level of Abdominal Pain Doesn’t Always Determine the Condition

Many different conditions can cause abdominal pain or stomach aches. What’s tricky about this symptom is that its severity does not always determine the severity of the underlying cause. 

For instance, you might feel severe abdominal pain and cramps due to stomach flu, food poisoning, or even gas, which are all easily treatable especially when attended to immediately. These conditions may even resolve themselves given enough time. 

On the other hand, there are more serious and life-threatening conditions, such as appendicitis, that may only cause mild to moderate abdominal discomfort. In some cases, these conditions do not cause any pain at all at their early stages and will only manifest themselves when they’ve already progressed.

Additionally, people describe abdominal pain in different ways. Sometimes, abdominal pain occurs at certain times, such as after meals or at night. All of these details about your abdominal pain provide doctors and medical professionals with important clues about the cause of your abdominal pain.

When to get prompt medical attention?

The key is to know when you need to get immediate medical care, such as at an urgent care center or a hospital emergency room. Sometimes you may only need to call an urgent care center about abdominal pain if the pain is not extreme. 

A nurse or doctor can tell you more about what steps to take next, including home care, such as sipping water and other clear fluids. Seek medical attention for abdominal pain that occurs often, lasts more than 24 hours or is accompanied by a fever.

Need Urgent Care in Palm Beach and the Surrounding Areas?

If you or your loved one is experiencing abdominal pain and other symptoms that are causing you worry, discomfort, or inexplicable pain, it’s best that you seek immediate medical care. Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches provides excellent healthcare without the wait, serving you at one of our three convenient locations:

We also offer COVID-19 testing, including rapid COVID testing, to help rule out COVID-19 or determine whether your symptoms may be due to it. 

For more information about our medical services, contact us. You may also schedule an appointment online.

 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

 

Stuffy nose, problems with breathing, pain in your forehead or behind your eyes, never-ending mucus, and a growing pile of tissues next to your bed. If you have ever experienced it, it means that you have most likely suffered from sinusitis. The good news is that it is treatable and doesn’t require any costly therapies. Home remedies are often enough to fight this condition. Nonetheless, this seemingly harmless issue, when neglected, may lead to some very serious health problems. In today’s article, we explain what the possible complications of an untreated sinus infection are and how to avoid them.

What is sinusitis?

Sinuses are air cavities in the cranial bones. Every human being has four pairs of them; depending on their location, they have different names: frontal, ethmoid (between the eyes), maxillary (in the cheekbones), and sphenoid (behind your nose). Certain types of bacteria, viruses, allergens, or air pollution may infect the sinus cavity and cause inflammation. Inflamed sinuses swell and are no longer capable of properly draining mucus, which results in mucus buildup and nasal congestion. At our walk-in clinic in Palm Beach County, we help patients with both acute and chronic sinusitis. The former condition usually resolves itself, so we only recommend our patients take pain relief medications. The latter one, however, may require an antibiotic.

Why shouldn’t you neglect sinusitis?

It may seem that sinusitis belongs to a group of uncomplicated medical conditions, but that can be misleading. Left untreated, it may cause potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind that the worst sinus infections may extend outside the sinus walls, which border major nerves, the eyes, and the brain. We list several possible complications that can result from untreated sinusitis.

1.    Eye infection

Sinuses are located close to the eyes. If the infection spreads to the eye socket, it may cause swelling, vision changes, pus collection or even blindness. Children are especially vulnerable to eye infections as a complication of sinusitis. Their facial bones are still developing and the openings between the sinuses and the eye socket are not yet closed.

2.    Brain Infection

In rare cases when the infection keeps spreading through the skull and reaches the brain and spinal fluid, it may lead to meningitis, seizures, permanent brain damage or even death. It is important to immediately contact your physician if you experience headaches, nausea, or fever or if you have lost functioning in any of your body parts as those are the symptoms of meningitis, which requires an urgent antibiotic treatment.

3.    Mucoceles

A mucocele is an excessive amount of mucus that has been collecting and expanding in the sinus. They may appear in any of the sinus cavities; however, they tend to occur mostly in the frontal and ethmoid sinuses. Since the pressure from mucoceles may extend to the surrounding structures like the eye or brain, surgical drainage is necessary in many cases.  

4.    Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis, or a bone infection, is an uncommon, yet serious complication. It occurs when the sinus infection spreads to the bone surrounding the sinus. The treatment of this condition is long and involves intravenous antibiotics which stop the infection from spreading more. In chronic osteomyelitis, a surgery that removes the infected bones is required.

Home remedies recommended at our walk in clinic in Palm Beach County

We always encourage anyone who suffers from sinusitis to visit our walk in clinic in Palm Beach County to get proper treatment and rule out the possibility of developing any of the severe complications. Nonetheless, there are many effective and natural ways to avoid sinusitis. Try flushing nasal passages with saline, taking a hot and steamy shower, drinking a lot of water, using a humidifier, or putting a warm compress on the forehead before taking antibiotics. Many cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses, not bacteria, and they should be treated without antibiotics.

Our walk-in clinic in Palm Beach knows how to treat your nose!

If you’ve been suffering from sinusitis, don’t let it bother you anymore. Visit our walk in clinic in Palm Beach today! We will help to open your sinus passages and relieve the pressure that has been contributing to your headaches and other symptoms. Why would you suffer even one more day? Don’t hesitate and contact us today. For your convenience, we are open seven days per week!

 

This article was written on behalf of the practice by RedCastle Services. RedCastle specializes in Online Marketing for Doctors, including Medical SEO, SEO for doctors, and Medical Website Design. Contact RedCastle Services today to find out how we can help your practice increase its number of online patient referrals.

Flu Shots in Palm Beach County

At the beginning of October of every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta release that year’s new flu shot, specially formulated to prevent the most common projected strains of flu from infecting the population.

Although the flu shot is recommended for everyone over 6 months old, there are a few population subgroups who are especially susceptible to the worst effects of the flu – and for them, the vaccine is necessary.

There are a number of misconceptions about influenza, though, and whether the flu shot is worth it. At Urgent Care Of The Palm Beaches, we aim to dispel the myths and provide reliable information about the importance of the flu shot and how it looks when you get a flu shot at one of our clinic locations: Palm Springs/Forest Hill, West Palm Beach or North Palm Beach.

Flu shots available now!

Flu Shot in Palm Springs/Forest Hill Blvd - Call (561) 328-8433

Flu Shot in North Palm Beach/Palm Beach Gardens - Call (561) 429-6109

Flu Shot in West Palm Beach/Palm Beach -  Call (561) 429-4779

Signs and symptoms

Individuals with flu may present with the following symptoms: cough, fever and/ or chills, sore throat, runny nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, fatigue, and in some cases even vomiting and diarrhea.

How does it spread?

Flu is spread mainly by respiratory droplets, made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can also be found on the surface of the objects that the person with the flu has touched.

Anyone can pass the flu to someone else before they become sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others starting a day before the symptoms starts, and up to 5 to 7 days after they become sick.

Complications of Flu

Flu may start as a simple upper respiratory infection, but can cause serious complications that will include bacterial pneumonia, sinus infection , dehydration ,worsening of chronic conditions, such as, heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People with asthma ,diabetes ,heart disease, stroke, adults over 65 years of age, pregnant woman, people with HIV or AIDS, cancer, and children younger than five, are at high risk for getting the complications of the influenza.

ISS_8946_03834-e1542799751569-1 Flu Shot Debate and Tips to Avoid the Flu

Prevention of the flu

There are good habits that you can follow that can protect you against flu virus:

  1. Avoid close contact with the people who are sick.
  2. If your child or you get sick, stay home and avoid work and school that way you won\'t be spending the virus to others.
  3. When you're coughing or sneezing try to cover your face with the tissue.
  4. Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  5. While at work try to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards or phones. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Make sure there's an adequate supply of soap, tissues, paper towels and/or alcohol-based hand rubs. Also inquire with your employer whether the flu vaccinations offered on-site

Who should get a flu shot?

Influenza is an upper illness caused by influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times lead to death. The best way to prevent influenza is to get a flu shot every year.

So far, The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every season.

The flu vaccine is recommended annually for all healthy individuals over 6 months of age who are not deathly allergic to one of the components of the vaccine. There are a few subgroups of people who are particularly susceptible to developing complications associated with the flu, including:

  •    Children under the age of 5 (especially those under the age of 2)
  •    Elderly adults over the age of 65 (especially those living in nursing homes)
  •    Pregnant women

It is necessary to get it annually because the most common strains of flu change every year, and so does the composition of the flu injection. To be clear, the annual influenza vaccine does not work like a booster shot – you’ll be vaccinated against different strains of the flu each year.

flu-shot2 Flu Shot Debate and Tips to Avoid the Flu

What does a flu shot do?

First, it’s important to understand our bodies’ immune response. When our body encounters a foreign substance – whether it is bacteria, a virus or something innocuous, like pollen – our immune system responds by first identifying the invader (the “antigen”), then producing B lymphocytes to produce antibodies. The antibodies lock onto the antigen and the body’s T-cells then destroy them.

The antibodies then stay in your body to alert it to any attempted return of the antigen. If it reappears, the body is already prepared to fight it before it becomes an infection – which is why we rarely get chicken pox twice, for example.

This is the same way vaccines and antihistamines work. The influenza vaccine contains antigens from the flu but gives them to you in a way that will not infect you; your body, though, learns to recognize the antigen and is prepared to fight it in case it tries to return.

Getting your flu shot in at Urgent Care of The Palm Beaches ensures that you are protected against the flu. The yearly flu shot is typically effective in reducing the risk of flu in the general population by 40% to 60%, according to the CDC.[1]

What happens if you don’t get a flu shot?

For most people, getting the flu isn’t life-threatening. You might be laid up for a few days with fever, cough and sore throat. But the subgroups listed above – and those who are unable to get the vaccine for other health reasons – are at risk of complications including minor things like sinus and ear infections, to worse things, like bacterial pneumonia, inflammation of the heart or brain, or even death.

It turns out that there are between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations a year for flu and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths, according to the CDC.[2]

What happens after I get my flu shot?

Some people will have what appears to be an immune response – they may get a fever, or nausea the body learns what antigens are present and formulates the appropriate antibodies – but most people will feel no different, although their body is now better prepared to fight the flu.

Getting the flu vaccine will help you keep the most severe symptoms at bay should you get the flu, but more importantly – it means that those who cannot get the vaccine are still protected thanks to herd immunity. And in case you’re wondering, there are no links between autism and the flu vaccine.

Screenshot-2018-11-21-at-12.34.57 Flu Shot Debate and Tips to Avoid the Flu

When to get vaccinated

The best time for getting a flu shot should be early in the season ideally in October. Getting vaccinated after that can be protective also as long as the flu viruses are circulating.

Everyone six months of age and older should get flu shot every season.

Is it too late to get a flu shot?

It’s never too late to get a flu shot. Even if the season lasts from October to May, you can truly get it any time. So make it painless at any of our locations - in Palm Springs/Forest Hill, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach – come to Urgent Care of The Palm Beaches and get your flu shot today!

Why is our clinic the best for getting flu shots?

You can get a flu vaccine in Palm Beach County at any number of clinics, but at Urgent Care of The Palm Beaches, there’s no need to make an appointment – you can just stop in any time we are open and get your flu shot. We are committed to ensuring that getting inoculated against the flu doesn’t have to be painful or inconvenient.

Getting your flu shot in one of our clinic locations in Palm Beach County looks like this:

  1.     Come in to our clinic.
  2.     Get your flu shot.
  3.     Pay and leave.

For employers

To minimize absenteeism, employers should consider hosting a flu vaccination clinic in the workplace.

Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches does provide such services per request of employers. Please contact us via email at (admin@myucpb.com), call us at 561-429-6109 and ask to talk to our medical director, or go to our website for more information. We provide on-site education and vaccination for our local employers no matter how large or small the employers may be!

Thank you

Urgent care of the Palm Beaches  - Your Partner in Health

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

© Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches 2022.

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