Summer Injuries – Going to the ER vs. Urgent Care

Lookout for Common Summer Injuries that can send you to the ER –

You always hope the summer will go off without a hitch, but if you or a family member becomes ill or injured, you must know ahead of time where to seek medical care. The emergency room plays a vital role in providing life-saving services, but sometimes, urgent care is more appropriate. Here’s how to tell which summer injuries are best treated at the ER vs. urgent care.

The Most Common Summer Injuries
Some of the most prevalent injuries that occur in the summer include:
Sports injuries resulting in strains, sprains, and fractures
Head injuries while participating in outdoor activities
Insect and animal bites, including bees, ticks, and dogs
Heatstroke from strenuous outdoor physical activity without enough water
Burns, including sunburns
Food poisoning from leaving perishable food out for too long

When to Visit Urgent Care
Treatment at an urgent care clinic is recommended if the summer injury or illness is not life-threatening. Examples of ailments we can treat at our facilities in Silver Spring and Kensington include:
The common summer injuries listed above
Poison ivy rashes
Seasonal allergies and minor asthma
Sinus pain
Swimmer’s ear
Cuts and scrapes requiring stitches
Eye irritation and swelling
Bumps, cuts, and bruises
Fevers, coughs, and sore throats

The emergency room is the place to go when you have severe injuries or ailments – SPHIER ER in Katy offers 24-Hour Emergency Medical Care for Pediatrics and Adults.

When to Visit the Emergency Room
Certain warning signs indicate that your summer injury may be putting your life in danger, warranting a trip to the ER. These include:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Severe chest or back pain lasting more than two minutes
Heart palpitations
Sudden dizziness and fainting
Vision changes
Speaking difficulties
Confusion or changes in mental state
Difficulty walking
Uncontrolled bleeding
Sudden or severe pain
Coughing or vomiting up blood
Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Severe abdominal pain
Severe headache, vomiting, or unconsciousness following a head injury
Broken bones
Dislocated joints
Deep cuts, particularly on the face


[No Title]

SPHIER ER is proud to partner with The Little Gym of Katy for their Open House starting July 24th through July 28th.  We love our Katy community and are so proud of our commitment to provide excellent emergency medical care to all pediatric and adult patients.


Take Pre-caution before going on a Summer Trip

Spending time overseas this summer? Follow these tips to reduce your risk of getting sick or hurt abroad.

School is out, work in the office is quieting down, and cold temperatures are a distant memory. It’s time to relax and enjoy the warm, sunny weather. If international travel is part of your summer plans, the CDC Travelers’ Health website is a great first stop to get prepared.

Before You Go

  • Visit your doctor or a travel medicine specialist, ideally 4–6 weeks before your trip, to get any vaccines or medicines you may need. Go to the Destinations website to check the vaccines and medicines list specific to your destination. Even if you are leaving soon, a visit to a travel medicine doctor is valuable. The doctor can counsel you on ways you can reduce your risk of getting sick or hurt while traveling.
  • Pack a Travel Health Kit. Include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, sunscreen, alcohol-based sanitizer, first aid supplies, health insurance card, insect repellent, and condoms.
  • Check for any current Travel Health Notices. These notices will inform you about health issues related to disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions at your destination.
  • Check the US Department of State website for information on security risks. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the US embassy or consulate can contact you in an emergency.

Protect Yourself from Zika Before, During, and After Travel

Many popular summer vacation destinations still have a risk of Zika. Prepare for your trip so that you’ll be protected.

Because Zika is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to any area with risk of Zika protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Sexual transmission of Zika( is also possible, so you should use condoms every time you have sex or not have sex during your trip.

CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to areas with risk of Zika. A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor before and after they travel and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission during the trip. Learn more about Zika and Pregnancy. (

Partners of pregnant women and those considering pregnancy( should know the possible risks to pregnancy( and take prevention steps during and after travel.

During Your Trip

  • Eat and drink safely. Contaminated food or drinks can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by eating only food that is cooked and served hot. Drink water, sodas, or sports drinks that are bottled and sealed or very hot coffee or tea. Get on-the-spot food and water advice in CDC’s Can I Eat This? App.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays when enjoying outdoor activities, such as spending time on the beach or swimming in a pool.
  • Prevent insect bites. On exposed skin, use an EPA-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Apply sunscreen first, then repellent. Be sure to follow instructions on the label and reapply as directed. Using insect repellent can protect you from diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as Zika, dengue, and malaria.
  • Practice road safety. Always wear a seat belt, ride only in marked taxis, be alert when crossing the street, especially in countries where people drive on the left, and avoid overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or vans.

After You Return

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, find a clinic here. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip.

If you traveled to an area with risk of Zika, you can be infected (even without symptoms). Prevent the spread of the virus to your partner or your community:

  • Take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after your trip, even if you don’t feel sick.
  • If you have a pregnant partner, you should either use condoms or not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • If you are thinking about pregnancy, talk with your doctor and see CDC’s suggested timeframes( for how long to wait to become pregnant.
  • You also should consider using condoms after travel (for 8 weeks for women travelers and 6 months for male travelers) to protect your sex partners from Zika even if your partner is not pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

    Summer Trip Headaches

The unexpected trip to the ER after a summer trip

Getting Sick after Travel

Going to the emergency room is not the trip we would like to make after coming home from a trip.  We hope you had great experiences and made many wonderful new memories, but the truth is that sometimes travelers come home with more than souvenirs. Fortunately, most after-travel illnesses are mild and not a concern, such as a head cold or an upset stomach. However, some symptoms may warrant a trip to the doctor.


man sick in bed

If you have been in a country with malaria and develop a fever within a month after you leave, see a doctor immediately. Most fevers are caused by less serious illnesses. But because malaria is a medical emergency, your doctor must first rule it out. A fever could still be malaria even if you took antimalarial medicine because the medicine is not 100% effective. Most malaria develops within 30 days, but rare cases can lie dormant for a year or longer. So always tell your doctor about any travel you have done, even if it was months ago.

Persistent Diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea go away by themselves in a few days, but see your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts for 2 weeks or more. Persistent diarrhea can make you lose nutrients and is often caused by a parasitic infection that will need to be treated with special drugs.

Skin Problems

Skin problems (rashes, boils, fungal infections, bug bites) are among the most common illnesses reported by people who have returned from international travel. Most skin problems are not serious, but they may be a sign of a serious illness, especially if you also have a fever.

At the Doctor


Whatever the reason, if you go to the doctor after returning from a trip overseas, tell him or her about your recent travel. Make sure to include all relevant details:

  • What you did on your trip.
  • How long you were gone.
  • Where you stayed (fancy hotel, native dwelling, tent).
  • What you ate and drank while you were there.
  • Whether you were bitten by bugs.
  • Whether you swam in freshwater.
  • Any other possible exposures (sex, tattoos, piercings).

SPHIER ER’s commitment to the community starts with school

SPHIER ER’s commitment to be part of the “It Take a Village” idea  continues to stay involved in community projects such as the Business Writing program at Katy ISD Cinco Ranch Junior High.  We presented the 8th grade students with a basic understanding of the nature of our business and they came up with their own business plans.  What a great way to prepare our youth for the future.  SPHIER ER was so glad to be a part of this great project with Teacher – Mrs. Lauren Huff.

Picture: Left to right: R. Chamberlain – Director of Nursing SPHIER ER, L. Huff – Teacher, Cinco Ranch JH, R. Wolf-  Director of Marketing SPHIER ER

YMCA and SPHIER ER work together for the Katy Community

SPHIER ER has been a community partner with the Monty Ballard YMCA for almost 7 years.  The Turkey Dash, Healthy Kids Day, Trunk or Treat are just a few of the programs with which we love being involved.  Throughout our partnership SPHIER ER has donated close to 15,000 bottles of water to the members of the YMCA to use during and after their workouts.

FREE AED/ CPR Training Class

Learn One of the Basic Steps on How to Save a Life! Take advantage of FREE AED/ CPR Classes offered to the community twice a month throughout the year.  Classes are 1 to 1 1/2 hours long and offered on Tuesday’s at 6 pm and Saturday’s at 10 am.
Call SPHIER ER @ 832-321-1000 or check out our website which updates monthly.

ER Visits Increase as the Temperature Rises – Here are Some Tips to Help

The number of visits to hospital emergency departments for heat-related illnesses rises as the temperatures rises.

During the 10 hottest days of the heat wave, heat-related emergency department visits statewide increased 89 percent from the previous 10-day period, with 734 emergency department visits versus 389 in late June.

Individuals 65 years of age or older, overweight people, those who exert themselves during work or exercise, infants and children up to ages 4 and people who are ill or on certain medications are at greatest risk.

Follow these prevention tips:

  • Monitor high risk-people for signs of heat related illness. Visit older neighbors and family members at least twice a day to make sure they are safe. Watch for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light -colored clothing.
  • Limit vigorous activity during hot, humid weather. Stay indoors and exercise in air conditioned areas such as malls.
  • Don’t leave infants, pets or elderly people in parked cars.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drink more than you need to satisfy your thirst. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If exercising, drink two to four cups of water every hour. Limit drinks that can cause dehydration such as coffee and soda.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher.

If you must go outside, try to do so either in the morning or in the evening.  While outside, take breaks often and find air-conditioned places or shady areas where you can rest.  This will give your body a chance to recover.  Individuals who choose to engage in outdoor activities need to drink plenty of water and take the precautions listed above to reduce the risk of heat illness.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life threatening situation. During heat stroke, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature in extreme heat, high humidity or during vigorous activity. Symptoms vary, but usually include red, flushed skin, a rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, seizures, difficulty speaking, confusion and unconsciousness. If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and attempt to lower their body temperature by helping them get to a shaded area and by cooling their skin.

The hottest day, July 7, set record temperatures of more than 100 degrees in many parts of Michigan with more than 115 heat-related emergency department visits at 87 facilities. Throughout the United States, heat was cited as a factor in at least 30 deaths during this heat wave, mostly among seniors.

“Anyone can be overcome by extreme heat, but some people are at higher risk than others, especially the elderly, very young and people with mental illness and chronic diseases,” said Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Signs of heat-related illnesses vary, but can include the following: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability unless immediately treated. Symptoms of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature — above 103°F — red, hot, and dry skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, headache, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness. If heat stroke is suspected, call 911 immediately.

Contact Jerry Wolffe at 248-745-4612 or or follow him on Twitter @JerryWolffe1 or on Facebook.

Although Rare- Beware of the Signs for Dry Drowning in Children

It sounds scary: A child can seem fine after getting out of a pool or body of water but then start to have trouble breathing an hour — or up to 24 hours — later. You’ll worry a whole lot less once you know the signs of submersion injuries, and how to prevent them.

Toddler by poolside Shutterstock

Chances are you’ve read scary warning stories about “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” — terms you probably never even knew existed before you became a parent — on social media. The idea that your child could “drown” on dry land is admittedly terrifying, and makes many parents feel helpless. But these rare incidents can be prevented. Get the facts you need to help keep your kids as safe as possible in and out of the water.

What is dry drowning?

The terms “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning” (also called submersion injuries) are often used interchangeably — even by some experts — but they’re actually different conditions, says Mark R. Zonfrillo, M.D., MSCE, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In dry drowning, someone takes in a small amount of water through his or her nose and/or mouth, and it causes a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up. In secondary drowning, the little bit of water gets into the lungs and causes inflammation or swelling that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to transfer oxygen to carbon dioxide and vice versa. Dry drowning usually happens soon after exiting the water, but with secondary drowning, there can be a delay of up to 24 hours before the person shows signs of distress. Both can cause trouble breathing and, in worst-case scenarios, death.

More important than the difference between the two — Dr. Zonfrillo says they’re both equally dangerous, and in fact, some experts reject the terms altogether, and simply refer to a “spectrum” of drowning — is knowing how to prevent such submersion injuries, and identify when your child is having trouble breathing after a swim.

Is it common?

Rest assured: Dry drowning and secondary drowning incidents, while incredibly scary, are rare, says Dr. Zonfrillo, and account for only about 1 to 2 percent of drowning incidents.

There are no specific stats on how many kids die each year from these types of submersion injuries, but it’s very few, says Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D., a pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. In fact, in 12 years practicing as a pediatrician, she’s only seen one patient who suffered from drowning that happened long after getting out of the pool.

Still, she says, it was a life-threatening scenario, and if you’re going to be spending time at the pool, ocean, or lake this summer, it’s smart to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

How to spot it

The good news is, dry drowning or secondary drowning (submersion injury) doesn’t happen out of nowhere. “You’re going to see warning signs,” says Sarah Denny, M.D. a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention, and an attending physician in the Section of Emergency Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

No matter your child’s age, be on the lookout for:

  • Water rescue. “Any child pulled from the pool needs medical attention,” says Dr. Berchelmann. “At the very least, call the pediatrician.”
  • Coughing. Persistent coughing or coughing associated with increased work of breathing needs to be evaluated.
  • Increased “work of breathing.” Rapid shallow breathing, nostril flaring, or where you can see between the child’s ribs or the gap above their collarbone when they breathe, means they’re working harder to breathe than normal, says Dr. Denny. This is a sign that you should seek medical help immediately.
  • Sleepiness. Your kid was just excitedly playing in the pool, and now she’s fatigued? It could mean not enough oxygen is getting into to her blood. Don’t put her to bed until her doctor gives you the go-ahead.
  • Forgetfulness or change in behavior. Similarly, a dip in oxygen level could cause your child to feel sick or woozy.
  • Throwing up. “Vomiting is a sign of stress from the body as a result of the inflammation and sometimes a lack of oxygen, also from persistent coughing and gagging,” explains Dr. Berchelmann.

What to do

Any time you’re concerned about your child and think he could have symptoms of dry or secondary drowning, whether you’re in your backyard pool or on a beach vacation, call the pediatrician right away for advice. Your child’s doctor should be able to talk you through it, says Dr. Berchelmann, and might advise you to go to the ER, a primary care doctor, or a national urgent care center.

But if your child is really struggling to breathe, call 911 and/or head to the emergency room right away. “Necessary treatment may not be available in settings other than the ER,” says Dr. Zonfrillo.

How it’s treated

Treatment for submersion injury depends on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, says Dr. Denny. The doctor will check the child’s vital signs, oxygen level, and work of breathing. Patients with more mild symptoms just need careful observation, in more serious cases, the doctor may also do a chest x-ray or give him oxygen. In cases of respiratory failure, or when a child can no longer breath on their own, extra support is needed — such as intubating or putting the child on a ventilator — but that’s very rare. The goal will be to increase blood flow in the lungs and get the child breathing well again.

How to prevent it

Prevention is the same for dry drowning and secondary drowning as it is for any other kind of drowning:

  • Swim lessons. Kids who are comfortable and skilled at moving around in the water are less likely to go under and take in water. Around age 4 is a good time to start.
  • Supervision. Monitor kids closely in and around the water, and enforce pool safety rules.
  • Water safety measures. Children should wear floatation devices on boats; pools should have four-sided fencing around them; and you should never leave standing water where a child could get into it.

As long as you practice water safety, pay close attention to your kids after swimming, and get them checked out if you notice any signs of trouble breathing, you shouldn’t have to constantly stress about dry drowning or secondary drowning. “I can’t emphasize enough how rare they are,” says Dr. Zonfrillo. Heading into vacation season, that’s welcome news.

Beware of Summertime and Mosquitos

The summertime is when mosquitos are most prevalent.  Help control mosquitos by taking precautions.

Control mosquitoes outside your home

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

Kill mosquitoes outside your home

  • Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest.
  • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.

illustration of a mosquito that has been crossed out with a red mark

Control mosquitoes inside your home

Keep mosquitoes out

  • Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
  • Use air conditioning when possible.

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like vases and flowerpot saucers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.

Kill mosquitoes inside your home

  • Kill mosquitoes inside your home. Use an indoor insect fogger* or indoor insect spray* to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest. These products work immediately, and may need to be reapplied. When using insecticides, always follow label directions. Only using insecticide will not keep your home free of mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places like under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room.

1 2 3