After a long winter that kept most of us indoors, the onset of spring beckons us to enjoy the warmer weather and plan for the summer months ahead. This time of the year, many patients come to my office with injuries or illnesses that could have been prevented by simple precautions. Here are a few common questions I’ve been hearing over the past couple of weeks.
I went for my first spring run of the year and now my knees hurt really badly when going up and down stairs — what should I have done differently?
It may be a condition called patellar tendonitis, also more commonly referred to as “runner’s knee.” This often happens when a person runs or exercises without proper warm up or stretching — especially after a long period of rest, such as the long winter months. Microscopic tears in the tendons of the knee joint can occur and cause pain. After seeing a doctor to make sure this is the cause, a period of rest followed by physical therapy will often prevent you from needing a surgical treatment. It’s so important to slowly increase your activity after a long rest period like this winter to avoid injury.
I’ve been coughing, sneezing, and been generally under the weather for the past few days, should I see a doctor for an antibiotic?
This time of year, allergies are one of the most common problems we see in the office. Pollen from the trees and flowers, along with mold spores, activate our immune systems and cause these symptoms. Instead of an antibiotic to fix this problem, antihistamines are useful to decrease symptoms and prevent future illness. Purchasing a HEPA-filter based air purification system will help clean the air in your home. Avoid leaving the windows open in the evening and early morning, which will decrease pollen from getting into your bedroom. See your doctor if you have a fever or no improvement with over-the-counter antihistamines.
Long Island has a lot of reports of Lyme disease, what can I do as a prevention from becoming sick?
While it’s true that LI has a large amount of Lyme disease, it’s still fairly rare to see in the office. If you go hiking in the nature preserves or along the sand dunes, it’s a good idea to wear light colored clothing that covers your arms and legs to avoid letting deer ticks from biting you. After a hike, check your whole body for ticks and, if found, make sure to remove them completely (your doctor can send the ticks to the lab for testing). Lyme disease commonly causes a rash, joint pain and fatigue, so preventing it or treating it early is important.
Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to live healthy and well. Before starting any new activity or physical training program, talk with your health care provider to ensure that you can do it safely.
by Dr. Bill Blazey