From fighting the flu to evaluating medical facilities in the Valley, ER doctor and urgent care facility owner Dr. Anthony Cardillo offers some counsel.
ILLUSTRATED BY CHRISTINE GEORGIADES
Dr. Anthony Cardillo has spent nearly two decades as head of the ER at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. More recently he opened Mend Urgent Care, with locations in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and Burbank. We asked this dad of three and husband of child psychiatrist, Dr. Kim Cardillo, for advice on some health topics that are on our mind—starting with the reversal of opinion on FluMist.
Should our kids be getting the popular nasal spray, FluMist?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out and said FluMist has very little utility and it will not be recommended for children this year. With FluMist, you’re actually taking a live virus, you’re dampening it down a little bit and having the child build antibodies against it.
The injection, on the other hand, is a not a virus. It’s a protein derivative that the immune system recognizes and to which it builds up antibodies.
What precautions should the rest of the family take?
My entire family will be getting the flu vaccine this year. All children and adults—especially the elderly—should too.
Give us some guidelines for keeping kids, who appear to be under the weather, home from school?
School-age children are transmitting viruses back and forth constantly. There are literally hundreds of different viruses they can transmit, causing a day or two of illness. If your child has a fever greater than 100.4° and/or exhibits any signs that make the virus transmissible (mucus, coughing or sneezing) they should not go to school. Wait until these signs and symptoms clear up before sending them back to class.
Why did you open your urgent care facilities throughout the Valley? And why are we seeing so many of them these days?
In the olden days people had one primary care doctor and that’s changed. There’s been a rapid decline in primary care doctors in the field. Also, when you’re sick you want to be seen now, not wait for an appointment a week from now. Urgent care facilities like Mend are staffed with emergency room doctors and internists. So while it’s about seeing people quickly, it’s also about meeting the needs of the patient and their family members for pediatric, adult or elderly care, in a compassionate and caring way.
When do you go to an urgent care facility versus a hospital emergency room?
For any illness that is not life-threatening, I suggest going to the urgent care. That includes anything from colds to broken bones, lacerations and rashes. We provide almost identical services to an ER except for cat scans. It’s the first point of contact to see a doctor quickly. If you’re experiencing something like chest pains or debilitating severe pain, you need to call 911 or go to an emergency room.
What are some of the benefits of going to an urgent care rather than visiting an ER?
The reason to go to an urgent care as opposed to an ER is speed. We see patients in less than 10 minutes. There’s also the cost. Urgent cares have much lower co-pays and deductibles than the high cost of an ER visit.
Which hospital in the Valley has the best emergency room in your opinion?
The best hospital in the entire area is Glendale Adventist, as it’s the most comprehensive. After that, another good choice is Northridge Hospital, which also has the only pediatric trauma center in the Valley.