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Interview with Dr. Thomas Malinich of the Emergency Department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center

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Medical Minute: 4:01

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.  Today we’re going to talk about the Emergency Department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, and our guest is Dr. Thomas Malinich.  Thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  Thank you.

Dave Kurten:  When should someone who exhibits cold or flu symptoms visit the doctor?

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  Well, in general, people should be able to try to read their own body.  Everyone has experiences colds from time to time and flu is, in general, something that’s a little bit worse than a common cold or something worse than you normally would experience; a lot of times there is a fever with it, there can be some muscle aches throughout the body, headaches, chills, sometimes you get some diarrhea and vomiting as well.  Usually unlike a cold, it is rapid and non-set over a couple of hour periods, you feel the weight of the flu rather then a cold, which is over a couple of days and milder.

Dave Kurten:  What flu symptoms warrant a trip to the Emergency Department?

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  Again, if you have not experienced flu symptoms before it’s probably always best to check into the Emergency Department or with your primary care physician so that they can make sure that you are not having any complications with it.  The CDC also has some guidelines, some very sensible guidelines to come in if you have children, especially under the age of 2 but in between 2 and 4 is a controversial area.  Adults over 65 years of age, pregnant women, and anyone, any adult, that has some chronic ailments such as asthma, heart disease, or neurological disorders.

Dave Kurten:  Of course, with H1N1 this year, the flu is a big concern but there are other reasons to visit your Emergency Department, when does someone who’s had a bump, burn, or fall need to visit the ED?

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  If the symptoms are unexpected and are outside the realm of experience for that person, they should have them checked out.  For example: most of us have at one point or another fallen and hit our head; head injuries that are not associated with other symptoms probably do not need to be seen but headaches that have a loss of consciousness, daze sensations, seizure disorder, abnormal movement of any of the extremities after a head injury should certainly be seen.  Also, I would say that headaches that are getting progressively worse rather than subsiding after a few minutes should be checked out.  As far as burns and some other disorders, the rule of thumb with a burn is that if you have some shortness of breath especially after smoke inhalation with a recent fire that we’ve had here in State College, that would be something to be checked out and if the burn is over the size your palm as far as surface area.

Dave Kurten:  What’s the best course of action if you are unsure about a trip to the Emergency Department?

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  If you’re unsure, it’s probably worthwhile to come to the Emergency Department for another opinion to make sure that you are not under or over-reading certain symptoms.  In my experience, sometimes its hard for people to read what’s going on in their body and many times people will come in and they are reassured that their symptoms are okay.  Other times people have sort of downplayed their symptoms and we pick up on some more serious type ailments.  So, if there is any uncertainty, outside of the realm of the person’s experience, they should come in and be checked out.

Dave Kurten:  Dr. Thomas Malinich, Emergency Department physician at Mt. Nittany Medical Center has been our guest today.  Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Thomas Malinich:  No problem, thank you. 

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.


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