Understanding Vaping: A Parent’s Guide from Urgent Care of Oconee

Nov 21, 2023 | 0 comments

What is Vaping? 

Vaping involves inhaling vapor produced by electronic devices like vape pens or mods. Unlike smoking, these devices heat a liquid, commonly known as e-liquid or vape juice, to create a mist. This process is increasingly popular among teens, raising concerns for parents.

Recognizing Vaping in Teens 

Identifying vaping can be challenging, as vape devices often mimic everyday items like USB drives or pens. Key indicators include a sweet or fruity smell from flavored vape juices and unfamiliar USB sticks or chargers.

Does Vaping Contain Nicotine? 

Many e-liquids contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Understanding that ‘nicotine-free’ labels may not always be accurate is crucial. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can have long-term consequences.

Health Risks Associated with Vaping 

Vaping poses several health risks, including ‘popcorn lung,’ lipoid pneumonia, and an increased risk of a collapsed lung. These conditions result from harmful substances in vape mist, such as diacetyl, formaldehyde, and acrolein.

The Link Between Vaping and Cancer 

While the long-term cancer risks of vaping are still under investigation, the presence of harmful chemicals in vape mist is a significant concern.

Dangers of Secondhand Vape Mist 

Secondhand vape mist is not harmless water vapor. It contains nicotine and other harmful substances, making it essential to protect children from exposure.

Addressing Vaping with Your Child 

If you suspect your child is vaping, engage in open, non-judgmental conversations. Educate them about the risks and seek medical advice if you notice any health symptoms.

Contact Us 

If you have concerns about your child’s health related to vaping, contact a healthcare provider or the CDC’s resource on vaping

Staying informed and maintaining open communication is critical in addressing the growing concern of vaping among youth. For further guidance, don’t hesitate to contact healthcare professionals at Urgent Care of Oconee.

Contact Us Today

    Linzi Smith

    Medical Assistant

    Linzi Smith is from Brunswick, Georgia. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Georgia. Linzi is certified in Phycological First Aid and as a phlebotomist. She liked UGA Football, reading and crocheting. Linzi spends her free time volunteering as a crisis councilor.

    Jennifer Jones

    Front Desk

    Jennifer Jones is originally from New York, but grew up in Monroe, Georgia. She is currently attending Athens Tech for Radiologic Technology. Previously, Jennifer worked the front desk the Piedmont Athens ER and other medical clinics. She likes football and trying new restaurants. Jennifer loves to cook and anything outdoors. In her free time, she says she “stays busy keeping my 3 kids entertained with new adventures. We love finding new trials to walk, cooking new recipes and anything that keeps us outdoors.”

    Halima Mendoza

    Medical Assistant

    Halima Mendoza is originally from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, but has been in Athens most of her life. She holds a two Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Georgia; one in Neuroscience Concentration and on the Psychology. Halima is a certified Medical Assistant and is certified in Basic Life Support. Previously, she worked as a scribe in Piedmont’s Emergency room. Halima is a member of the Georgia State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) for Early Intervention Programs. She likes listening to Podcasts that center around dark history and murder mysteries. Halima loves to garden and “wrangle her two lovely children and husband.” She also enjoys studying various cultures and languages.

    Harry Wingate IV

    Radiology

    Harry Wingate IV is a Georgia native, graduating from North Oconee High School in 2007. He served in the Army National Guard for six years and graduated in 2015 from the Athens Technical College Radiography program. Harry loves watching the Georgia Bulldogs with family and friends.

    Caroline Crowe

    Medical Assistant

    Caroline is from Buford, GA. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia. In her free time, Caroline likes to play tennis and travel.

    Tonya Milligan

    Radiology

    Tonya grew up in Good Hope and Loganville, GA. She is a graduate of the Monroe Area High School. Tonya has an expansive background in medical records, transcribing, and front desk in several . She has lived in Georgia most of her life. Tammy previously worked for Northside Hospital for 13 years. She was the front office Team Lead and has experience in billing, insurance, and accounts receivable. She enjoys engaging with patients and feeling like she is part of the success of a practice. Tammy has many interests including reading, going to movies, traveling, watching GA Bulldogs football games and watching my grandchildren play sports. She lives in Loganville, GA with her husband, two children and two grandchildren. Tammy says she “feels very blessed to now be a part of Urgent Care of Oconee and hopes to make a positive impact on the staff and community we serve.”

    Aimee Felton

    Employee Account Manager

    Aimee is a local native from Athens, GA. She has worked in the medical field for 15 years. Aimee has worked for the Urgent Care of Oconee since 2016. Making memories with her husband and three boys is Aimee’s favorite pastime. The family enjoys thrifting, camping, kayaking, hunting & fishing, and watching baseball. Aimee says she has “a passion for helping others and loves working for a clinic that puts patient care at the head of its mission.”

    Daniel Gallo

    PA-C

    Daniel is from Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Berry College and a Master’s Degree in Health Science from Lincoln Memorial University. Previously, Daniel worked as a Student Athletic Trainer for the Berry College of Sports Medicine Department. Daniel previously worked at the Urgent Care of Oconee as a Medial Assistant. Daniel enjoys rowing, rugby, hiking and camping.

    Vanessa Cartwright

    Front Desk

    Vanessa is from Canton, Georgia. While obtaining her degree at the University of Georgia, she met her now fiancé. After graduation, they decided to settle down in Athens. She has several years of experience in customer service. Vanessa enjoys video games, reading, and spending time outdoors with her two dogs.

    Tammy Heil

    Watkinsville Office Manager

    Tammy is originally from Oklahoma. She has lived in Georgia most of her life. Tammy previously worked for Northside Hospital for 13 years. She was the front office Team Lead and has experience in billing, insurance, and accounts receivable. She enjoys engaging with patients and feeling like she is part of the success of a practice. Tammy has many interests including reading, going to movies, traveling, watching GA Bulldogs football games and watching my grandchildren play sports. She lives in Loganville, GA with her husband, two children and two grandchildren. Tammy says she “feels very blessed to now be a part of Urgent Care of Oconee and hopes to make a positive impact on the staff and community we serve.”

    Samantha Ashmead

    PA-C

    Samantha is originally from the North Florida area. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from South College in Knoxville, Tennessee. Samantha joined Urgent Care of Oconee in April 2022. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, carpentry, and spending quality time with her dogs and partner.

    Natalie Moseley

    PA-C

    Natalie is from Springfield, MO, however, she has lived all over the world, including Africa. Natalie made Georgia her home 20 years ago. She earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia College and State University and her Physician Assistant Master’s Degree from the Medical College of Georgia. Natalie previously worked in Orthopedic Surgery Primary Care and Emergency Medicine. Her interests include music, reading, hiking, camping and traveling. Natalie is an avid gardener. She volunteers her time with ACC-SANE, which is an organization that specializes in helping victims of sexual assault.

    Michelle Fletcher

    Front Desk

    Michelle is a Georgia native from McDonough. Michelle began her career as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines before working part time and raising her children. She has served our community through teaching at First Presbyterian Preschool and volunteering at her church and in her children's school.

    Kara Whyte

    PA-C

    Kara Whyte is a Physician Assistant certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) since 1994. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wagner College, while concurrently earning her certificate of completion from Bayley Seton Hospital PA program in Staten Island, New York. For nearly 30 years, Kara has worked as a PA in Family Practice, College Health, Interventional Radiology and Neurosurgery prior to joining Urgent Care of Oconee. Kara and her husband Brad are blessed to enjoy Lake Life while they proudly watch their two Adult children fly on their own.

    Jonathan Hill

    PA-C

    Jonathan was born and raised in Gwinnett County, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate degree, where he played trumpet in the Redcoat Marching Band and volunteered with the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology Magma Cum Laude with High Honors. After graduation, he worked as an emergency room scribe and pediatric medical assistant. He then attended Physician Assistant school at Mercer University and served as class president. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and was also named the Distinguished Graduate of his cohort. Prior to working at Urgent Care of Oconee, he worked in inpatient pulmonary and critical care. Jonathan has been with our office since 2021 and lives nearby in Statham, GA. He currently serves as a Georgia House of Delegates Representative for the American Academy of Physician Associates. In his free time, Jonathan loves spending time with his wife Kristen, daughter Hallie, and dogs Hickory and Chrysta.

    Joe Hwang

    PA-C

    Joe grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Clarinet Performance. Joe earned a Master of Education in Physical Activity and Health. While attending Auburn University, he met his wife, Sarah. Joe worked in three different hospital systems as a medical laboratory scientist, with a focus on hematology and blood banking. In 2016 he moved to Atlanta to attend Mercer University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Public Health and Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies and received the Distinguished Graduate Award for his PA cohort. Joe's current hobby is powerlifting, and he holds over a dozen national records and four world records. His best lift is a 584lb deadlift at 163lb body weight. Joe is a prolific board gamer, with Settlers of Catan and chess intramural championships under his belt. He is also undefeated (3-0) in university talent shows. His favorite book series is the Color series by Ted Dekker. Joe enjoys anything to do with Winshape Camps, mission trips, and working with the children’s ministry at his local church.

    Ebony Cooke

    PA-C

    Ebony is from Bunn, NC. She earned her undergraduate degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Ebony went on to earn her Master of Health Studies in Physician Assistant Studies from South College in Atlanta. Before PA school, Ebony worked in Transfusion Medicine as a phlebotomist and a birth doula. She is a bodybuilder in the wellness division. She is passionate about women’s health and nutrition and loves to workout. Ebony enjoys cooking, all things fitness, health and nutrition. She believes “it is very important to listen to patients in order to come up with a diagnosis and plan.” .

    Crystal Cotrell

    PA-C

    Crystal received her Degree of Physician Assistant from The Medical College of Georgia. Prior to MCG, she graduated from Lagrange College in Biology as a collegiate athlete playing softball. Crystal's areas of interest are Orthopedics and Family Medicine. She has been practicing medicine for over 20 years. She is married to her college sweetheart. They have 4 children with whom they love to spend time together with outdoors.

    Chad Hull

    Chief Operating Officer

    Chad is originally from the Midwest. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Shorter College in Music. Chad went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Prior to working at the Urgent Care of Oconee, he spent time in nephrology and oral surgery and general dentistry. He moved to Athens seven years ago from metro Atlanta, where he lived for nearly 20 years. Chad main interests are reading and the Culture of Literacy, as well as cooking.

    Ashley Milligan

    Front Desk

    Ashley is from Madison, Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has several years of experience in customer service. Ashley enjoys traveling, hiking, and loving on her dogs in her spare time.

    John Campbell

    PA-C

    John received his master degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Emory University in Atlanta. John became interested in Sports Medicine after suffering a collegiate sports ending knee injury and decided to enter the field of sports medicine. While serving as an athletic trainer for the University of Central Missouri, John graduated with honors receiving a bachelor's degree in fitness/wellness and a masters degree in Sports and Exercise Science. While at Central, he was the head graduate assistant athletic trainer for baseball, wrestling and volleyball and assisted other trainers in football, basketball, track and sports rehabilitation. While at Emory, John was able to work in many different facets of medicine including emergency medicine, pediatrics and orthopedics. John currently volunteers his services to the ARC Disaster Services to help boost efforts to help individuals and families in need of assistance during difficult and trying times. He is a member of the Air National Guard training with a search and rescue medical group in Alabama. John’s areas of interest include family medicine, sports medicine, orthopedic trauma and pediatric care. He and his wife, Ivy, are parents of 2 children, a boy and a girl.

    Jeff Chambers

    PA-C

    Jeff is a Rome, Georgia native who has lived in Oconee area for nearly 30 years. He is a 1991 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science/Sports Medicine. Jeff went on to earn a Masters Degree in Health Promotion from the University of Georgia in 1998. In 2000, he graduated from Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program with an MMSC. Jeff has worked in both emergency medicine and orthopedics over the past 23 years. He holds board certifications in primary care medicine and a certificate of added qualification in general surgery and orthopedic surgery. Jeff’s experience prior to physician assistant school included serving as an athletic trainer for the University of Georgia and the Minnesota Twins. He has also worked numerous years with local high school athletic teams. Jeff currently serves as a Lt. Col. in the United States Air Force Air National Guard with the 187th Fighter Wing and has extensive medical training in trauma. Jeff is the commander of the Alabama Air National Guard’s CERFP disaster team. Jeff, and his wife Jennifer, have three boys who are graduates of the Oconee school system and are proud to be part of the Oconee community.

    Dr. Wingate

    Harry “Tripp” Wingate, MD, FACEP

    Dr. Wingate is a Georgia native who has been a member of the Oconee community for a number of years. Dr. Wingate is a 1984 cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a 1988 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. Dr. Wingate is a 1990 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia Family Practice Residency Program and holds board certifications in both Family Practice and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Wingate has over 25 years of experience in emergency medicine and family practice and is the founder and associate editor of the Journal of Rural Emergency Medicine and past chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians section of rural emergency medicine. Dr. Wingate has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations nationally and in rural hospitals throughout northeast Georgia. Dr. Wingate and his wife Ann are the parents of ten children, live in Watkinsville and are proud to be part of a vibrant and growing community.