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Sunburn and the dangers of overexposure

Sunburns can range in severity

By: Gerardo Ortiz, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Spring is here, and summer is around the corner. As the weather gets warmer, more and more people will be spending an increased amount of time outside. Please don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

Sunrays expose our bodies to ultraviolet radiation. The 2 main types are UVA and UVB.

Radiation known as UVA is mostly responsible for aging of the skin and some cancer risk. UVB causes sunburns and carries a higher skin cancer risk.

It is important to use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays! A minimum SPF of 15-30 is recommended. An SPF of 15 absorbs about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 absorbs about 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 absorbs 98% of UVB rays. read more

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How to tell a strain from a sprain

Ankle Sprain
A sprained ankle on an athlete

Sprains versus Strains

By: Antenah Belay, MD, ABEM

It is common for people to interchange the terms strain and sprain. Even though the symptoms of the two conditions tend to be very similar, they are quite different. Nonetheless, to get relief for either, seeking medical help is an excellent option.

What is a sprain?

A sprain entails the tear or overstretching of ligaments. Ligaments can be described as the tissue present in a joint which is responsible for connecting two bones.

How a sprain happens read more

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The basics of strokes

By: Anteneh M. Belay, MD, ABEM

The basics of strokes

As we discussed in a previous blog post, a stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Without blood, brain functions get disrupted and blood cells start dying. The death of brain cells can result in eventual death, lasting disability, memory loss, numbness of one side of the body and confusion. There are two core types of strokes namely Ischemic stroke and Hemorrhagic stroke. Details of these strokes are listed below: read more

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When is a sore throat strep throat?

By: Sumeet Bhatt, MD, ACLS, ATLS, PALS, ABEM

Patient with strep at Lonestar 24 HR ER.
Strep throat in a Lonestar pediatric patient in New Braunfels, TX.

Sore throat is usually caused by two types of germs: virus and bacteria. One type of well-known bacterial infection is commonly called “strep throat”.

It is hard to tell the difference between viral and bacterial throat infections, but there are some clues to look for.  People who have a sore throat caused by a virus usually have other symptoms, such as runny nose, chest congestion, red eyes, cough, a hoarse voice, and/or body aches.  People who have strep throat usually do not have all those symptoms above. They usually have severe throat pain, fever higher than 100.4°F, and swollen neck glands. read more

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How to identify shingles


Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is a painful rash that is shaped like a band or a belt. It usually only affects one side of the body and does not cross the midline, in the vast majority of cases.

It is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus, which is the same virus that causes Chickenpox. When someone first becomes infected with this virus, they get Chickenpox. The virus then “hides” or “sleeps” in your body and becomes reactivated later in life, causing shingles. read more

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What is a stroke?

Stroke Symptoms
Board-certified physicians are of utmost importance in your care if you think you are having a stroke.


You have heard of people having strokes and may know someone who has had one, but are you at risk? How can you determine this and what are the symptoms?

A stroke, otherwise called a cerebrovascular accident, is when an individual experiences a sudden loss of blood supply to the brain.  This loss is typically caused by a blockage of blood to the brain but it can also be caused by an injury to a blood vessel or even bleeding within the brain.  Symptoms from a stroke can improve over time or they can be permanent leading to long-term disability. read more

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Why did I get the flu if I got the shot?

pediatric care for the flu
The flu virus is most dangerous to children and the elderly. If you think your child has the flu, Lonestar 24 HR ER is here to help.

By: Dylan Easley MD, ABEM

Flu activity typically runs from May to March.  There are multiple variations of the influenza virus.  The flu vaccine provides protection for 3-4 specific influenza viruses.  There are many flu viruses that circulate every year.  The vaccine includes the flu viruses that research suggests will be most common each year.

The flu shot takes about 2 weeks before it offers its maximum protection.  If you get exposed to the flu less than 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine you may still get the flu because your body’s immune response is not yet ramped up. read more

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Dry drowning: Separating myth from fiction

Comal River Sunset
Sunset over the Comal River from Prince Solms Park, New Braunfels, TX

By: Anteneh M. Belay, MD, ABEM

What are the symptoms of dry drowning?

Because dry drowning is not an accepted medical term, it’s difficult to easily describe because different sources give differing explanations.

Dry drowning used to describe the lungs of drowning victims devoid of water at autopsy. This happens in a relatively small percentage (up to 20%) of drowning cases, and may be due to vocal cord spasm. However, we know that very little water actually enters the lungs during most drownings and thus, parents need to remember: in drowning situations, the main medical problem is lack of oxygen to the brain. read more

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