It’s Spring Break for many schools and with it comes a host of possible illnesses and injuries. Most people are aware of the damage the sun can do to the skin and remember to wear sunscreen, but there are other problems you can’t prepare for. Some common examples are sprains/strains, food poisoning and dehydration.

Strains are injuries to overused muscles, also known as a “pulled” muscle. Sprains are injuries to tendons- the connective tissue between bones and muscles. These injuries are extremely painful and can seriously damper your mobility. A sprained ankle, or “twisted” ankle, is one common injury. Other common joints to experience sprains are wrists if you break a fall with your hand, or knees if you pivot quickly. The important thing to remember in the case of sprains is the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. You should not place weight on the affected joint for at least 24 hours. The area should be wrapped in a compression bandage as soon as possible to limit the amount of swelling which will occur. Application of ice for 20 minutes at a time also helps to decrease swelling and ease some pain. The affect joint should also be elevated above the heart, again, to limit swelling. NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen are helpful for pain and inflammation. If the pain and swelling are severe, or you hear or feel a “snap” when the injury occurred, you should seek medical care. A trip to ZipClinic Urgent Care can help you determine whether you actually broke a bone and clinicians can give you a recovery plan which may include physical therapy. Physical therapy is frequently prescribed to repair and strengthen the affected joint and help prevent future injuries.

Another common Spring Break ailment is food poisoning. It can happen at home as well as abroad, though it is more common in the tropics. Food poisoning comes on fast, with symptoms usually starting the same day that you ate or drank something with the wrong germs on it. Food poisoning symptoms include strong nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramps and diarrhea. You may also have a fever. These symptoms can last anywhere from one day to two weeks. During this time, it is important to try to stay hydrated because diarrhea takes water from your body. Gatorade or Pedialyte are good replacement fluids. If the symptoms are unbearable, you can come into ZipClinic Urgent Care for a medical evaluation. Clinicians here can diagnose your ailment and also prescribe you some medication to help. There are anti-nausea medications that can allow you to keep fluids and food down. Anti-spasm and anti-diarrheal medications can ease your cramping and diarrhea. If the clinician thinks the situation is severe, if there is blood in your diarrhea, or if you have a fever above 101.5, he or she may recommend that you go to the Emergency Room for replacement IV fluids and further treatment. After it passes, you may need to eat a modified diet of soft, plain foods such as oatmeal, bananas, rice, and bread until you regain your strength and your body heals.

And a final word about alcohol consumption: remember that the body can process one drink per hour—that means one beer, one glass of wine or one shot of liquor. Consuming any more than that can lead to trouble. It’s also good practice to drink a glass of water or soda between each alcoholic drink to stay hydrated since alcohol dehydrates you. Hangovers occur not only from drinking too much, but also from dehydration. Stay hydrated while drinking and before sleep to avoid a morning headache. Or do your body a favor and keep your drinking down to two drinks a day.

Whether you are travelling to the Denver, Colorado or Bozeman-Yellowstone, Montana areas for spring break or need medical care upon returning home, ZipClinic is available on a walk-in basis, seven days a week, in Denver, Aurora, and Westminster, Colorado; Bozeman and Belgrade, Montana; and Bowling Green, Kentucky for common, non-emergency medical conditions like allergies, bronchitis, sprains/strains, sore throat, and scrapes and cuts. ZipClinic treats adults and children and accepts most major insurance plans.
With that, enjoy Spring Break!