Expert Interview: Dr. Wayne Guerra

The weather is starting to get warmer, which means a lot of us will be spending more time outdoors. Warmer weather brings different concerns, mainly injuries, stings and burns. Today we are speaking with Dr. Wayne Guerra, MBA and Chief Medical Officer for Healthagen. Dr. Guerra is a practicing emergency medicine physician working at several hospitals in the Denver, CO area. He also oversees medical content for Healthagen’s flagship product iTriage — a comprehensive and revolutionary medical application that is available for free for all iPhone, iPod touch and Android smartphone users and for all Internet-enabled devices at www.iTriageHealth.com.

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If your child gets stung by a wasp/bee how should you treat the sting?

The most important thing to do is remove the stinger. This can be done by either pulling out the stinger or scraping it out. Cool compresses on the stinger site is generally all that is needed. If there is swelling or itching at the area the child can be given over the counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Pain that persists can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). Make sure the child is not allergic to these medications before giving them. A rash involving the entire body, swelling of the mouth or tongue, vomiting, breathing problems, or confusion are signs of a more serious reaction called anaphylaxis and this requires immediate medical treatment. For more information on anaphylaxis see iTriageHealth.com at http://www.itriagehealth.com/disease/anaphylaxis-%28severe-allergic-reaction%29

What should parents be watching for to help prevent heat stroke?

There are three types of heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps, and generally occur after exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later. The first signs are generally muscle aching.

Heat exhaustion is a form of heat-related illness that is often caused by several days of exposure to elevated temperatures and dehydration. The first signs to watch for are hot flushed skin, general malaise or lack of energy, or excessive thirst. Other signs include dry mouth, and lack of tears when crying. Heat exhaustion requires urgent treatment consisting of moving to a cool environment and drinking fluids. If the child does not improve, intravenous fluids may be needed. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the result of prolonged exposure to hot temperatures, dehydration, or a failure of the brain to regulate the body’s temperature. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. The signs of heat stroke are confusion, lack of sweating, lethargy, and fainting.

What are some remedies for a sunburn, and at what point would it require medical treatment?

Most sunburns can be treated by using over the counter lotions, staying out of the sun, and by applying a cool towel over the affected area. Pain relief can be achieved by taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). If the skin blisters, leave the blisters alone and intact. Medical treatment is required if large areas of the skin become blistered, if the fluid in the blisters becomes cloudy, or if the patient experiences a fever.

Many families use the warmer weather as a chance to hike and camp, which also increase chances of poison ivy/oak. How can parents recognize poison ivy/oak and how can they treat it?

The leaves of poison ivy consist of three pointed leaflets with the middle leaflet having a longer stalk than the two side ones. The leaflet edges can be smooth or jagged. The leaves are reddish in the spring, turn green during the summer, and become various shades of yellow, orange or red in the fall. Treatment includes: removal of the exposure and cleansing of the skin. The affected skin needs to be cleaned with soap and water as soon as possible, since only 50% of the resin can be removed after 10 minutes have passed. Topical steroids, either over the counter (1% hydrocortisone) or by prescription, are administered for mild cases. Topical Calamine lotion can help with the itching. An over the counter oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can also reduce the itching. It is important to clean all clothes and shoes that came in contact with the plant as well to prevent re-exposure. Pictures and more information about Poison Oak can be found at iTriageHealth.com at http://www.itriagehealth.com/disease/poison-ivy-(poison-oak,-poison-sumac)

Do you have any tips for parents when their children sprain or break anything?

Sprains and breaks should be splinted in the most comfortable position using rolled up newspaper, or other household items. If the arm or leg is deformed do not try to straighten the limb but seek medical attention immediately. Simple sprains can be treated with a compressive dressing such as an ace wrap and also acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin).

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My husband Scott downloaded the iTriage app for his iPhone and I have to tell you, it is awesome! Plus, it is free, is there anything better than that? Here’s some photos of how you would look up a bee sting:

There are also videos and web searches that you can do on pretty much anything you look up on there.

You can follow iTriage on Facebook, Twitter or check out their website for more information.

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3 comments

  1. Those are some helpful tips! Thanks for sharing your time and expertize with us. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for posting. I especially liked reading about preventing heat stroke! So easy for this to happen out here in the desert!

  3. Great interview, thanks for sharing!!

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