safe holidays

Five Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for celebrations and spending time with friends and family. Our team at MSCI is in the holiday spirit, and as we gear up for the holiday festivities, we wanted to put together a few tips on how to have a safe holiday. Following these tips ensures that your days are filled with cheer and holiday spirit and not an unexpected visit to the doctor’s office!

1)      Small parts in presents

One of the staples of the holidays is gift giving. If you have a little one running around, it is a good idea to keep a tab on what gifts they open. Toys with small parts can be a choking hazard for a small child. If you are the one giving the gift, consider assembling the toy first and reduce the number of potential choking hazards. You can then re-wrap the gift to give your child the same experience.

2)      Plan cooking ahead of time

The holidays usually involve some extravagant meals that involve a lot more steps than normal. Rushing through cooking can be dangerous, especially with multiple hot surfaces and sharp kitchen utensils. Creating a plan ahead of time can cut down on stress and also help avoid burns and cuts.

3)      Take care of yourself

With so much to do, so many people to see, and so much activity happening around you, it is easy to get overwhelmed around the holidays. There is nothing wrong with taking a little time for yourself. Find a quiet corner of your house, take a quick trip to the store, or do something that will ease your mind. Whatever it takes, de-stress and relax, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

4)      Exercise good hygiene habits

When you’re going to be around a lot of people, one of the most important things you can do is maintain good hygiene. Cover your mouth when you cough with your sleeve, wash your hands frequently to prevent spreading germs, and make sure you stay away from the elderly and little children if you are sick. It is easy to spread illnesses when you have so many people around, so do your best to stay healthy this holiday season.

5)      Keep a close eye on young ones

The holidays tend to be more exciting when you have young ones around. They bring an energy that few adults match. It’s important to keep a close eye on children as they run around, especially if you are not at your own home. Your hosts might not have childproofed their home as well as your own, so be sure that your child is safe this holiday season.

We hope that your holiday season is filled with happiness and joy. MSCI will be open for regular business hours every day except for December 25th. The clinic will re-open December 26th. We will also be closed on January 1. If you need to see one of our Irving doctors, consider making an appointment today!

Halloween safety

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

With Halloween right around the corner, our team at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving wanted to put together a few tips on how to get the most out of the spookiest, scariest holiday. Every year, countless children roam the streets in the search for candy and fun. Halloween is a great time for children to enjoy some independence, but for parents, this is also the scariest part of the season! Here are a few tips to make sure that both you and your children have a safe and fun Halloween:

1)      Stick to sidewalks

Most areas in and around Irving have plenty of sidewalks, and you should stick to these as often as possible. While many neighborhoods have Trick or Treat events, where streets are closed for children to walk about safely, you still want to walk along the sidewalks just in case. Beyond being safe, it also reinforces good safety habits for your children.

2)      Be comfortable

Even this late in October, the weather can still got hot. If you are planning on walking around with your children, be sure to plan accordingly. Watch the weather report and wear clothes that will keep you comfortable. Regardless of how hot it will be, remember to hydrate and get your child to drink plenty of water as well, both before and during Trick or Treating.

3)      Plan your route

Before leaving in pursuit of candy and fun, sit down with your child and plan a route. Even if you just loosely discuss your plans, it is a good idea to set boundaries of how far you are willing to go. For instance, you could plan a street-by-street route, or you could simply say that you will not be leaving your neighborhood.

4)      Supervise Their Independence

Trick or Treating is the perfect opportunity for your child to gain some independence. For instance, when you walk up to a house, parents often encourage their child to go ring the doorbell. It might seem like a simple gesture, but this little bit of interaction can build a child’s confidence and understanding on how to communicate with adults. As a parent, you should balance your child’s independence with their safety. A great setup is to walk your child from house to house but to wait for them on the sidewalk.

5)      Inspect candy

Even though most reports of wide-spread tampered candy on Halloween have turned out to be urban legends, you should still go through your child’s candy at the end of the night and inspect the pieces. Discard anything that looks opened or odd for any reason. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Halloween is an exciting time for children, and with these tips, it can also be a safe time. From the entire team at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving, we hope you and your children have a safe and happy Halloween!


Ten Tips for Working Outside in Summer

We hate to state the obvious, but it gets very, very hot in Texas during the summer months. For those individuals who have to or choose to work outside, it is extremely important to take the necessary precautions to protect your health. Heat illness and heat stroke are serious medical conditions that affect thousands of Americans, but particularly during the summer months, people should be extra careful.

Without further ado, here are 10 tips to help you have a safe summer while you work outdoors.

  1. Drink lots of water

It’s important to drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. In extreme heat, you might be dehydrated and not realize it yet. Drink water ever 15-20 minutes and take breaks often.


2) Take a look at your urine

Okay, this might be a bit yucky, but our bodies have a natural check to see if you are hydrated: the color of your urine. If your urine is dark then you are not drinking nearly enough water!


3) Know when it’s too hot

Sometimes, when there is extreme heat in the triple digits, there is simply no getting around the fact that it is too hot outside. Limit your outdoor exposure or work in small increments.


4) In case of heat stroke

If someone is experiencing a heat stroke, it is important to act quickly. You can identify heat stroke from dilated pupils, delirium, confusion or angry behavior, and/or convulsions. If you believe someone is having a heat stroke, you need to take quick steps to help them. Take the individual to a cool area and then soak their clothes with water while also fanning the individual to try and bring down their temperature. You should keep doing this until help arrives. Do not give the person water. Heat stroke is extremely serious and requires hospitalizations to prevent brain damage or even death.


5) Stick with water

Whatever you do, avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means that they actually contribute to you losing water more rapidly. Drinking caffeine or alcohol can increase the effects of dehydration, so if you are feeling thirsty, there is no substitute for water.


6) Wear sunscreen

Since you are going to be outside in the heat, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. Avoid working at peak hours of sun exposure if possible and take frequent breaks. You should also use sunscreen or sunblock to reduce your chance of developing skin cancer later on.


7) Put on a hat

A wide brimmed can make a huge difference. Keeping the sun off your neck or back is an ideal solution to not getting overheated. It might seem like a minor addition, but sometimes a little bit can go a long way.


8) Everyone is different when it comes to heat

Humans vary from individual to individual when it comes to their tolerance to heat. As a general rule of thumb, however, you should avoid extreme heat exposure if you are overweight, suffering from heart problems, are on a low-sodium, or taking certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you need to work outside and ask for advice.


9) Work smart

If you are able to and if you have a plan, you should schedule doing the most difficult work for early in the morning before the temperature rises. The last thing you want to do is to be exerting the most energy when you are overheated.


10) Consider buying a cool vest

If you work outside a lot during the summer, proper attire is essential. Organic material is the best at providing air circulation. However, for people who work outside a lot, you might want to consider a cool vest. These vests have cold packs inside the vest pockets to help lower your body temperature and prevent heat exhaustion.


Your body has many natural ways to lower your body temperature, like sweating. However, sometimes these simply aren’t enough. It is important to be careful when working outside, especially during the summer months. If you feel like you are experiencing heat stroke, heat collapse, or heal illness—or if you see someone you believe is experiencing any of these—it is essential that you call 9-1-1 and take immediate action.


Back to School

With summer drawing to a close and back-to-school fever sweeping North Texas, it’s time for parents to prepare their children for a return to the classroom. That means earlier bedtimes, healthier diets, regular routines and, most importantly, a trip to the doctor. Family practice physicians and pediatricians at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving are ready to assist parents in making sure their children are in top physical and mental health – which means getting those immunizations up-to-date – so that they start the school year on the right foot!

Making sure a child is healthy and well prepared for the new school year ultimately ensures improved concentration in the classroom and paves the way for a highly successful start. Getting kids excited about going back to school can help ease any pre-semester jitters. While shopping for new clothes and supplies can certainly be a part of the fun, the doctors at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving also suggest parents also prepare their kids by:

  • Establishing a consistent sleep pattern before the first day of class. A few weeks out, parents should start waking up their kids at the same time seven days a week. Enforcing earlier bedtimes will go hand in hand with this. As each step of a bedtime routine progresses – including baths, story time, brushing teeth and putting on pajamas – it should move a child one step closer to the actual bed.
  • Curbing the amounts of sugar, chocolate and sodas. With schools focused on healthy eating and a lot of schools removing soda and other snack machines, kids might find it as a shock when they can’t get their daily dose of soda that they have become accustomed to during the summer months. Breaking children of unhealthy eating before they return to school can help them concentrate more and remain better focused in the classroom.
  • Limiting the use of electronics and cutting back on TV/movie watching. During summer break, for better or worse electronic devices sometimes serve as pseudo babysitters, keeping kids busy while providing parents with some temporary much-needed quiet. Most schools will not allow students to bring these devices into classrooms because they are disruptive. By weaning kids off of the electronics before school starts, the potential withdrawal behavior won’t take away from learning.
  • Talking about any worries or concerns. Kindergarteners and those students who are entering middle and high school for the first time may have some added anxiety about their new environments and academic responsibilities. Parents can help calm those worries by simply listening and letting their kids talk through them. Topics of interest might include bullying, drinking, smoking, obesity, body issues and sex. If a particular issue cannot be resolved at home, parents can always call a school administer or counselor for additional outside support.
  • Scheduling a doctor visit. The start of the school year is a great time for parents to schedule their child’s annual checkup. The truth is, children are exposed to all kinds of germs at school. Aside from sending them to class in a plastic bubble (and earning them many a vicious nickname, to be sure!) this reality is unavoidable. When parents schedule annual exams at the start of the school year, their child’s immunizations are completely up-to-date from day one, putting them at the lowest possible risk of contracting diseases from fellow classmates.
    • Parents should note that although children who are planning on getting involved in school athletic programs often are required to get an exam before they can start practice with a team, these exams should not replace annual physicals from a family doctor; they aren’t as detailed, and a health concern could be overlooked. According to, there’s nothing wrong with children having a regular checkup and the school-sponsored sports exam as long as parents know that creating a long-term history with a family doctor is invaluable.

The abrupt change in routine that the start of the new school year brings makes finding the right balance of home life, school, social activities, sports and extracurricular pursuits a challenging feat for any parent and child. The main thing to remember is that achieving this balance is impossible if children aren’t healthy and functioning to their full potentials. The Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving is ready to assist parents with scheduling back-to-school checkups and immunization updates to ensure that their children’s first day of school is a smashing success.

Sources: News wise, Montefiore Medical Center;


Texas Summer Heat

When living in North Texas, heat warnings and extreme heat advisories are highly common occurrences during July and August. That’s also around the time outdoor activities are most popular because of summer break and vacations. The two situations don’t go hand in hand and could prove to be fatal if residents don’t heed the warnings from their bodies and local weather forecasters.

Varying degrees of heat-related illnesses ­– ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to heat stroke — will arise when the human body can’t cool itself as quickly as it’s heating up or if too many fluids are lost through sweating. All require immediate attention. As symptoms become more severe, professional medical assistance must be sought.

Heat cramps: Muscular pains and spasms that typically occur in the legs or stomach, can affect anyone who is sweating outside doing strenuous activities, such as mowing the lawn, jogging or playing sports. A loss of fluids and electrolytes is usually the cause and an early sign that the heat is taking a toll on the body. Those suffering from heat cramps should take regular sips of water and apply firm pressure to muscle spasms while taking temporary shelter from direct sunlight. If cramps continue for more than an hour, seek professional medical assistance.

Heat exhaustion: Several days of consistent exposure to high temperatures and humidity could cause North Texans to feel dizzy and weak with constant nausea and headaches. These are signs of more severe heat exhaustion. Although body temperatures will remain normal, victims will more than likely be sweating heavily and appear pale. If vomiting occurs, a doctor or 911 should be contacted immediately. To treat heat exhaustion, loosen any clothing and apply cool clothes or towels to all areas of the skin. Residents should also be taking sips of cool water.

Heat stroke: When the thermostat in a car stops working, smoke usually billows from under the hood as the vehicle overheats. That’s similar to how humans react when their internal controls fail and their body temperatures rise to 105 or more degrees. Signs of sunstroke include rapid, shallow breathing, vomiting, seizures, hot and dry skin and unconsciousness. Victims also might faint as an indicator that something is seriously wrong. After calling 911 for assistance, the person suffering from heat stroke should be moved to a cooler place and fanned to bring the body temperature down. Do not give the victim fluids.

Age, weight, alcohol consumption, and prescription drug use are among factors that can make North Texans more or less susceptible to heat hazards. Residents should use common sense when doing any activities outdoors during the hot summer months. When going outside during the heat of the day in any North Texas city, remember these tips to help prevent a heat-related illness:

  • Wear loose clothing
  • Rest frequently in shaded areas
  • Drink plenty of fluids including water and sports drinks while avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages
  • Use a wide-brimmed hat or umbrella for shade

Sources: National Weather Service, WebMD, Scott & White Healthcare and Medline Plus


Firework Safety for Summer

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and for many Americans fireworks are an integral part of the celebration. June is Firework Safety Month and the perfect time to brush up in preparation for Independence Day.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospitals treat 200 firework-related injuries daily during the months surrounding the Fourth of July. Follow these tips to make sure you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable holiday:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite any type of firework—even sparklers burn at temperatures around 2,000 degrees.
  • Always have an adult supervise the use of fireworks.
  • Be sure that any fireworks you purchase are intended for use by the general public. Some fireworks are made strictly for professional use and could cause serious injury or even death.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in a pocket, purse or backpack, as a single spark could cause them to ignite.
  • Never attempt to re-light or pick up any firework that has not ignited properly—it may still be dangerous.
  • Light fireworks one at a time to prevent confusion and accidents.
  • Have a bucket of water or garden hose on hand in case of an emergency and to douse fireworks before discarding them.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from the lighting area to prevent a spark from accidently igniting them.
  • Many parts of the country prohibit the use of fireworks. Make sure they are legal in your area before buying or using them. If your area is experiencing a drought, fireworks may be temporarily banned.

Whether you’re watching your community’s firework display, or setting them off in your own back yard, put safety first!