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Each year, National Radiologic Technology Week commemorates the discovery of the x-ray and the valuable contributions it has made to healthcare. To celebrate, New England Urgent Care Director Dr. Michael Gutman chose the best x-ray taken so far this year at its clinics. New England Urgent Care X-ray Technicians submitted their most interesting case for review. Nicolette M. (R) (ARRT) took the winning image of a wrist fracture (shown) at its Enfield clinic.

All of New England Urgent Care’s four clinics throughout central Connecticut are equipped with high-quality, state-of-the-art radiologic imaging systems in specially designed rooms. “Some other providers tout their ‘mobile’ x-ray equipment, which is a less-expensive option. However, we found that image quality is often sacrificed for mobility. Plus, there’s a greater risk of unintentional radiation exposure to patients and staff if the equipment is not contained to a safe area, which is why we chose our imaging systems,” explains Gutman.

Nicolette was awarded with a gift card and trophy. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors degree from the University of Hartford, specializing in MRI. New England Urgent Care Lead X-Ray Techician Luci Mastrangeli added, “This was a lot of fun and a great way to highlight the contributions x-ray technology has made to the medical field. We had so many interesting cases! We look forward to doing to again next year.”

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists founded National Radiologic Technology Week to recognize the contributions the x-ray has made since its discovery by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on November 8, 1895.

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See how well you know the dos and don’ts of food safety so you can avoid food-borne illness this holiday season!

True or False:
1. The top shelf of the refrigerator is the worst place to store a raw turkey until cooking time.

True. Store your bird on the lowest shelf possible. This helps to prevent raw turkey juices from dripping down and contaminating foods stored on lower shelves. Keep the bird well-wrapped in plastic and on a tray large enough to catch all raw juices.

2. It is not necessary to wash fruits and vegetables that will be peeled.

False. During food preparation, it is best to wash all fruits and vegetables using cold, running water. As you peel and slice, bacteria from outer skins can be transferred to the insides from your knife or peeler. This is especially important when preparing vegetables that will not be cooked, such as raw fruit and vegetable platters.

3. It is essential to rinse a raw turkey with cold, running water before preparing it for the oven.

False. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), rinsing a raw turkey in the kitchen sink can generate a fine spray of germ-contaminated water that settles on surrounding surfaces up to three feet away! Skip this rinsing step to avoid showering yourself and your kitchen with turkey germs! They will be destroyed in the cooking process.

4. Cutting boards used for raw fruits and vegetables should not be reused for raw meats, poultry and fish.

True. In the busy holiday kitchen, it’s best to designate a separate cutting board for raw vegetables and one for raw meats, poultry and fish. That will help reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Between uses, USDA recommends washing your cutting board with hot, soapy water, then sanitizing it with a dilute chlorine bleach solution made by mixing ½ tablespoon of bleach with ½ gallon of clean water.

5. Foods can remain on the dinner table for 3-4 hours before being refrigerated for future consumption.

False. Leftovers will be safe for Black Friday and a bit beyond if you refrigerate them no longer than two hours after placing them on the table, according to the USDA. And it is not necessary to cool down hot dishes before refrigerating or freezing them. Maintain the refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees F or below, and the freezer temperature at 0 degrees F or below.

6. You can always tell when food has spoiled because it will have an “off” odor.

False. Sniffing is not a fail-safe test of freshness, according to USDA. Some foods may be contaminated with bacteria and not smell funny. Follow basic food safety principles — pay attention to expiration dates; separate and store foods properly, refrigerating when required; cook to recommended temperatures; and don’t take chances — when in doubt, throw it out!

7. Washing your hands frequently helps avoid your becoming an agent of cross-contamination in your own kitchen.

True. Your hands can transfer germs from one surface to another. Wash your hands for 20 seconds using warm water and soap between kitchen tasks, but especially after contacting raw foods or using the bathroom. Make sure children they know how important it is to wash their hands thoroughly before and after helping.

Lastly, remember that disposable gloves can be sanitary and useful, but they too can transfer germs from one surface to another, so they should be changed between tasks.

Have a delicious, safe and fabulous Thanksgiving!

Source: Water Quality & Health Council

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New England Urgent Care Shares the Spirit of the Season with its Second Annual Holiday Toy & Coat Drive

New England Urgent Care is accepting new, unwrapped toys and new or gently used and clean coats for its annual holiday toy & coat drive to benefit area families. The event runs from November 18th to December 18th at all four of its locations — Bristol, Enfield, Manchester and West Hartford. Donations can be dropped off daily during business hours.

“New England Urgent Care participates in many events throughout the year in support of our community. There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than helping those in need,” explains Luciane Mastrangeli, New England Urgent Care Lead X-ray Technician and Marketing Coordinator.

The collected items will be distributed during the holidays to families in Manchester, West Hartford and surrounding towns by two area nonprofits — the Manchester Area Conference of Churches (MACC) and the Bridge Family Center in West Hartford.

Mastrangeli added, “Last year was our first year doing the drive. We collected approximately 30 coats and 20 toys. I think we will be able do more this year.”

New England Urgent Care staff — X-ray tech Cori, Front Desk Staff member Kelly, Lead RN Melissa and PA Leila — are pictured left to right with its 2017 toy and coat drive collection.

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Every day, the New England Urgent Care team provides quality care for its patients. They also provide loving care to the community by participating in service projects each holiday.

This is the second year New England Urgent Care has chosen to support Operation Christmas Child by donating and assembling goodie boxes for kids in over 100 countries around the world.

Each team member can choose to assemble a shoe box for a girl or boy in three age groups. Gift suggestions include one “wow” item such as a stuffed animal, clothing or a soccer ball with a pump, and other items like school supplies, toiletries, other fun toys, and a personal note.

New England Urgent Care Registered Nurses Carlos Paulo and Kathy Williams have volunteered to coordinate the box collections.

“Our team will begin to collect and assemble the boxed gifts at the end of October and deliver them to the Rockville Baptist Church in Vernon during the third week in November,” commented Luci Mastrangeli, Lead X-Ray Technician at New England Urgent Care. “Our team really enjoyed helping last year and wanted to do it again this year,” added Mastrangeli.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry run by Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

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The first day of fall did not disappoint — cooler temps have arrived along with the changing color of leaves. But do you know how cooler weather can affect your overall health?

Consider these three things when the weather gets cold:

  1. An increase in blood pressure. When the outdoor temperature drops, blood vessels tend to constrict in an effort to conserve body heat. That can make blood pressure increase a bit. If you’re healthy you might say, ‘no big deal.’ But, if you have hypertension, it might be something to monitor.

A 2015 study found up to a 31 percent increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year compared with the warmest.*

That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid sudden strenuous activities, like snow shoveling, if you have high blood pressure.

  1. You get thirstier — and so does your skin! Dry skin, “alligator legs,” and cracked lips are not just from dry heat.

It’s common to drink more water in the summer months when you feel the heat. But did you know you’re more likely to get dehydrated in the colder months? That’s because people tend to drink more hot coffee and tea (diuretics), which contribute to dry skin. So, make sure you keep up your water intake in the colder months.

  1. Dry air can make a cold or flu feel worse. That’s because dry air can worsen symptoms if you get a cold or the flu. Nasal passages tend to plug up more easily in winter months. When there is a lot more mucous, they can get irritated, especially in the back of your throat (post-nasal drip) and dry air only makes it feel worse.

Using a room humidifier can help add moisture back into the air. Make sure it is cleaned regularly.

Read more: Is it a cold or the flu?

Source: Seasonal Variations of Complete Blood Count and Inflammatory Biomarkers in the US Population – Analysis of NHANES Data Published November 6, 2015