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kid with allergies

Allergies by Season

 

Spring is just around the corner which means allergies are as well for many individuals. While blooming flowers and growing grass may remind you of allergies, they actually exist all year round. Knowing which allergies are present during which season will make it easier to narrow down what triggers your allergy symptoms so that you can prepare before they kick in!

Winter

Winter is coming to an end, but it’s never to prepare for next year early. Winter brings cold temperatures and hard frost in many areas of the country. Those temperatures mean that pollen is at bay. While you spend more time in your house and kick the heat on for the first time, dust and mold that have been lying dormant in your home will wreak havoc on your allergies. To reduce the indoor winter allergies, invest in a HEPA filter for your furnace and change the sheets on your bed regularly.

Spring

Spring is a time filled with beautiful blooming flowers, growing grass, and much more. All of those outdoor allergens create high pollen levels that irritate many allergy sufferers. Allergy testing to find out what types of trees and flowers bother you the most will make avoiding your allergens easier. Spring may be the time to turn to the help of an antihistamine or other allergy medicine to take the edge off of your allergy symptoms.

Summer

Summer is the peak time of year for grass pollen, mainly thanks to all of your neighbors mowing the lawn. Mold spores and seeds make an appearance in July, living on fallen leaves and compost piles. The best way to avoid these allergens is to stay inside in central air conditioning. Be sure to change your HEPA filter often to keep your home clear of mold spores and unwanted dust.

Fall

Fall is a rough time for those allergic to ragweed. The pollen runs rampant outside, along with more mold spores and leftover pollen from the spring and summer months. November is one of the best months for outdoor allergy sufferers. It’s a time when outdoor allergens are dying down, and indoor allergens haven’t been stirred up quite yet.
Remember, not everyone suffers from allergies year-round. You may only notice allergy symptoms one or two seasons out of the year, or they may bother you no matter the weather! If allergies are interfering with your day to day life, contact an allergist right away.

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lady with back pain

4 Tips to Manage Your Back Pain

 

Back pain is a common complaint among people of all ages and activity levels. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide! Back pain can be debilitating and finding a solution may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Follow these simple tips to begin managing your back pain at home today!

Ice and Heat

If you’ve suffered an injury that caused your back pain, ice and heat are the best way to reduce inflammation. For the first 48 hours following the injury, stick to ice. Be sure not to leave the ice on for too long though! A general rule of thumb to follow is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Once the first 48 hours have passed, begin alternating ice and heat in 20-minute segments. The combination will help relieve pain and regain motion of the affected area.

Go for a Walk

The couch may be tempting when you’re suffering from back pain but sitting or lying for too long will actually make the pain worse. Instead, you should try to keep moving each day. Go outside and take a short walk to get your heart rate up and blood flowing! As your pain begins to lessen and your recovery continues, you should aim to add time or speed to your daily walks.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of a good stretching session! You should take 20-30 minutes each day to stretch your muscles and joints. This will work to keep you flexible and discourage joints from becoming stiff. Even if your job entails standing for long periods, you should still take time to stretch side to side and forwards to loosen your back and hip muscles. If you need help remembering to stretch, set the alarm on your phone and begin doing it at the same time each day until it becomes a habit.

Maintain Good Posture

Posture often gets neglected throughout a long day. If you’re suffering from back pain, your poor position could likely be the cause. Instead, you’re sitting or standing, try to be conscious of your posture. Your spine should be aligned straight up and down, from your tailbone to your neck. If you have to bend or lift during the day, maintain proper posture with those movements too! It’s easier than you think to bend over wrong and pull a muscle in your back that will lead to days or even weeks of annoying back pain.

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The differences between urgent care, retail centers, and primary care

Many patients may confuse urgent care centers, retail clinics, and primary care offices because of their similar names/services.

However, it is important to understand that these types of medical providers have varying degrees of comprehensive care, clinical capabilities, and other ways to provide care to patients. So what are the main differences between each

Retail Clinics

Retail clinics provide walk-in services for patients are located inside of  large stores, like supermarkets and department retailers. Instead of physicians, retail clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs), and are intended to be affordable and efficient.

Different location operators provide different services, but generally, retail clinics provide care for common illnesses and injuries, including a sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, allergies, minor cuts, burns, rashes and headaches. Some retail clinics may also perform immunizations, annual physicals and health screenings. The operating hours for retail clinics vary, but are generally open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m during the week. 

Primary Care

Primary care offices are staffed by family physicians and provide a variety of services intended to support continuous care. Primary care physicians establish a relationship with their patients, manage their health, provide patient education and counseling, and promote wellness improvements. 

Primary care providers, or PCPs, are responsible for offering preventative services that can keep illness at bay. A primary care office performs vaccinations, physicals, check-ups, screenings and blood work, and help with the management of diseases such as diabetes and asthma. PCPs provide specialty referrals if they identify any outstanding healthcare risks or concerns. Usually PCPs are open during regular business hours without the flexibility of urgent care centers. 

Make sure to meet a new potential PCP and evaluate if they are a good fit for you or your family.

Urgent Care

Urgent care centers are a bit more advanced in clinical capabilities when compared to retail clinics, based on the staff and equipment available at an urgent care center. Most urgent care centers have at least one board-certified doctor in-house to treat patients during business hours. 

Most urgent care centers are equipped with x-ray imaging services that help evaluate and manage injuries like broken bones,  Whereas emergency rooms typically have long wait times, the average wait time at an urgent care center is 15 minutes or less, based on the most recent statistics on urgent care use. 

Ultimately, you’ll likely need at least two of these providers in order to have ideal healthcare access. For most patients, a PCP as well as a trusted urgent care center can help deliver the best possible healthcare outcomes.

 

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The best ways to manage sports injuries

Sports injuries happen at the most unexpected times at both the professional and collegiate level. When these injuries happen, it is important to know how to address sprains, fractures, and similar injuries as they happen.

Sports injury first aid and prevention is especially helpful to help stabilize patients with painful injuries. Make sure that you’re on top of your sports injury first aid, treatment, and prevention skills with these tips for addressing athletic injuries on the field!

Prevention and Self-Treatment are key to managing sports injuries

According to medical experts such as Harvard Medical School, most sports injuries can be evaluated and treated with various forms of first aid.

However, people need to understand the most common types of sports injuries in order to evaluate the severity of an injury. Common sports injuries for athletes of all levels include:

  • Sprains
  • Muscle pain
  • Bruises
  • Fractures
  • Concussions

Depending upon the severity of an injury, a patient may need to go to either the nearest urgent care center or an emergency room (ER) if the injury is potentially life-threatening. Thankfully, most sports injuries require urgent care.

If a person experiences a sports injury then you should begin the the P.R.I.C.E method of injury treatment. PRICE is a simple acronym to help patients remember the basic steps to managing an athletic injury:

  1. Prevention: Warm up and stretch before an sport or athletic event to prevent any injuries. Most sports-related injuries are preventable if athletes can effectively prepare before a sporting event.
  2. Rest: An injured limb and injured tissue require sufficient time to heal. If you experience an injury make sure to limit any pressure and put as little weight on it as possible. Then slowly work on moving the injured limb through therapy and treatment.
  3. Ice: Icing an injury is usually the simplest and most effective way to manage an injury. Medical experts recommend icing an injury between 15 to 20 minutes a day. As your injury heals, you’ll likely reduce the needed time to ice an injury.
  4. Compression: A broken limb is likely to swell a few hours after an initial injury. In many cases, you’ll need to compress the injury in a splint or cast depending upon how severe the injury is.
  5. Elevation: Another simple yet effective way to self-treat an injury is to elevate an injured limb above the head to reduce swelling, inflammation, or pain. If you have a hurt leg, then usually putting a pillow under the leg can help it heal faster.

 

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Is Romaine Lettuce Safe to Eat?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about thee. Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. For weeks it has been unsafe to purchase, eat, or order any romaine lettuce while the FDA worked to narrow down the problem. Through proper inspections and research, they have finally located the problem area, and some romaine lettuce is safe to enjoy!

What is Romaine Safe?

After this major outbreak, the FDA had decided that all romaine will now be labeled to detail what region it comes from and when it was harvested. They determined that the outbreak has been linked to the Central Coast region of California. That means that any romaine on the store shelves that isn’t from the Central Coast region is safe to enjoy! If romaine is not packaged, your grocery store should have the information regarding the region and harvest date posted near the register. If romaine is not labeled and the information is not posted, don’t purchase or consume it.

Preventing Outbreaks Moving Forward

The FDA came up with the new labeling system to avoid growers in safe regions from being forced to throw out perfectly safe produce. Primarily, the winter growing found areas in Arizona, Florida, and Mexico are safe for sale and consumption. Leafy greens are often linked to outbreaks and food poisoning, but the new e. Coli outbreak finally got the attention of the FDA in a significant way. Moving forward, the aim is to implement this labeling process into all leafy greens sold in stores. Then, if an outbreak occurs, it can be quickly narrowed down and controlled. 43 people in 12 states were affected by the recent romaine outbreak and an additional 22 people in Canada. Canada is familiar with the possibilities of illness from leafy greens, stating it as a common occurrence there as well.
FDA officials and farmers are working together to determine why romaine has been involved in so many outbreak incidents in recent years. They’re taking into account environmental factors, physical factors of the plant, and more. Romaine has a shelf life of approximately 21 days which means the infected greens could still be on store shelves or in your home. Even if you have romaine that you have eaten part of without problems, it’s best to dispose of it and repurchase romaine that is clearly labeled to be from a safe region.

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How Hepatitis Made a Comeback in 2018

2018 was an exciting year in many ways. Many changes for the better were made, but a few changes for the worst occurred as well. One of the most notable adverse changes that need to be addressed is the return of hepatitis. Hepatitis has been around for decades, but just last year the condition saw a rapid increase in the number of cases.

What Causes Hepatitis?

Hepatitis comes in three forms, A, B, and C. each form is an infection of the liver, but there are differences in how they affect the body and how they’re contracted. Hepatitis A is most commonly seen in those who travel internationally without receiving their vaccination. Food and water sources in unsanitary or uncontrolled areas carry hepatitis A. To avoid hepatitis A, you should always ensure you’re vaccinated before traveling overseas and only dine in established places. Hepatitis A is typically detectable by symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Hepatitis B and C are very serious as well, and actually, have an even higher death rate than hepatitis A because they often show no symptoms at all. As the drug epidemic in America continues to grow, so do the cases of hepatitis B, and C. injectable opioids and other substances often lead to addicts sharing needles and spreading the infection from one to another through blood. Since no symptoms are present in most cases, the infected individual continues to spread the disease unknowingly. The rise in individuals choosing not to get vaccinated and the growing drug problem in this country are the leading causes of the return of hepatitis.

What if Hepatitis is Untreated?

Undetected and untreated hepatitis can have dire circumstances. The liver infection can turn into liver cancer over time, and many infected individuals don’t see any symptoms until it reaches that point. Untreated hepatitis is a viral infection that can be spread from one person to another. Even hepatitis A can be spread from one individual to another through fecal to oral acts that are becoming increasingly popular in younger generations. The medical community hopes to educate more individuals about their potential risk of hepatitis A, B, and C so that they can get tested and vaccinated as needed. To return numbers of hepatitis cases as low as they once were, people need to become more aware of the problem and actively trying to stop the spread of the infection.

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word cloud of 2019 healthcare goals and medical appointments

How to Plan your Critical Medical Appointments for 2019

New year, new you, correct?

On top of all those new year’s resolutions you’re making for 2019 it is now a better time than ever to plan any medical appointments you may need. Taking the time to organize medical appointments like annual physicals, vaccinations, and other critical healthcare needs.

Here is a bonafide list of all the medical appointments you should try and plan for in 2019.

Get your flu shot if you haven’t already!

The flu shot is the best way to ensure that you don’t contract the flu during the peak sick season. Flu shots, or influenza vaccinations, work by taking a weakened strain of the flu and either injecting it or using an alternative nasal. The weakened strain is not potent enough to cause the flu and helps the body create more antibodies to fight the disease.

Most people should schedule their flu shot in mid-September or as quickly as possible during the winter. As a general guideline, getting the flu shot is better sooner rather than later no matter when.

Schedule your annual physical

An annual physical may likely be the most important medical you schedule in a given calendar year. Primary care providers use the information from a physical to recommend any medication, lifestyle, or dietary changes you may need to improve your overall health.

More importantly, a routine physical allows your doctor to identify and potential healthcare complications and risks in the near future.

Coordinate your physical examination with work or school in order to avoid any scheduling conflicts with primary commitments. A physical may also last between 15 to 45 minutes, so make sure you are mindful of a potentially lengthy appointment when scheduling.

Also, make sure that you have all up-to-date medical information on hand when you begin your physical. Your medical history is crucial to help your provider make healthcare recommendations and referrals.

Get any travel vaccinations as needed for a long-distance vacation!

Planning a big trip or an exotic vacation next year? Make sure to thoroughly plan out any travel vaccines, depending upon where you go. Check on the CDC’s website to see if your destination requires any specific vaccinations for your trip.

Additionally, you should also keep up to date on your routine vaccinations through a primary care provider or another medical professional.

Taking the time plan any preventive medical appointment helps to lower your overall health risks throughout the year. Make sure you’re planning any medical services to have your healthiest year yet!

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family during holidays practicing kitchen safety

How to keep the Holidays Happy, Healthy, and Safe This Season!

The holiday season is here and you’re probably thinking about all the tasty treats, family times, and wintery festivities! But to keep the caroling loud and jolly, you’ll want to ensure that the necessary precautions are made to keep the whole family healthy and safe for the holidays.

The early to mid-winter months can increase your risk of coming into contact with food and airborne allergens, as well as hazardous conditions from the cold weather. So what should you be doing to keep the joyful times safe and risk-free during the holidays?

Kitchen and food safety is paramount to prevent allergies and injuries  

Everyone wants to bake their famous pie or cake and prepare their coveted Christmas dinners with all their fancy kitchen appliances. However, it is important to properly manage a kitchen during the holidays for several reasons.

Many holiday treats and desserts contain common food allergens such as nuts, dairy, and egg. To prevent an allergic reaction, make sure that all guests at a party or function are aware of any possible allergies. Have hypo-allergenic alternatives to prepared dishes as well to limit allergy risk. Simple hand washing and sanitation of cooking apparatuses.

In addition, a busy kitchen could lead to potential burn and cut injuries if the necessary safety precautions are not taken. Limit kitchen burns by wearing protective handwear like oven mitts when handling hot surfaces and dishes. Also, make sure that appliances are overseen by at least one person to reduce potential fires. Sharp cutlery should be handled carefully and stored properly to avoid cuts and lacerations.

Safely remove snow and ice to reduce injury risk

As winter rolls around, the chance of slipping and falling or experiencing frostbite increases. Safe removal of snow and ice can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing an injury.

It is important to pace yourself when removing heavy piles of snow as you could experience muscle strain or elevated physical stress. Take your time as needed to clear off snow and scrape ice as needed.

When outside, wear winter boots or another form of non-slip footwear to prevent slips and falls. Maintaining shovels and snow removal equipment also helps to maintain a safe pace when removing snow and ice.

If you experience an injury or illness during the holiday season, make sure you seek urgent care services unless it is a life-threatening emergency situation.

Just take the time to practice these safety and health tips to enjoy a merry holiday season!

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sneezing

Fight Fall Allergies

If you suffer from fall/winter allergies then you know you the allergies are coming back to haunt you! However, don’t let this year be like the rest of the years! Try & get ahead of the Fall allergies & let us here at First Call Urgent Care help you! Below we will be giving you some tips to use to make sure you beat fall allergies once & for all!

Don’t wait to start treating yourself for allergies!

If you wait until you start having symptoms with allergies odds are you are too late! The best way to combat fall allergies is to start treatment about 2 weeks before your regular symptoms would usually occur. For example, if you have allergies in Septemeber then you would want to start taking your medication in late August. If you experience allergies in December then you need to start medication in November!

Don’t forget about the mold!

Mold is the leading cause of sickness & health related issues. It is known as the silent killer because it can grow basically anywhere in your house or surroundings & constant exposure to it is not good. Mold can grow basically anywhere there is water, places you should look include:

  • The sink
  • Bathtub
  • Under the sink in the kitchen
  • Pipes in the basement
  • Toilet
  • Wet part of the ceiling

A good way to know if you have mold or will have mold is to not only check these places in your house but to also look at places that are accumulating water. This way you can fix the wet spots before they become mold!

Fight Off Pollen

Be careful of Ragweed! Ragweed is the most commonly found in plants, trees, & other various outdoor plants. A good way to keep ragweed out of your house is too make sure to leave your shoes at the door! Keeping ragweed out of the house will prevent yours from getting allergies inside your home. Also if you have a pet that runs outside a lot try to wipe the pet down as soon as possible when it comes back inside to ensure they don’t bring any allergies in the house!

Be mindful when doing chores

If you are doing chores outside such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves then you should be wearing a mask. The outdoors around this time are not friendly to those who a=have allergies! Wearing a mask could really help you from getting symptoms!

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving feast

Be Careful Turkey Carving This Year!

Thanksgiving is here again & it is truly the begging of the holidays! We here at First call Urgent Care want to wish you & your families a Happy Thanksgiving! We also want to make sure that you everyone has a safe Thanksgiving! Did you know there are hundreds of reports each year of people being injured from Turkey Carving related issues? We are offering you some tips on how to stay safe while cooking the Turkey this year!

Make sure your knives are sharpened

If you are cutting the turkey with a dull knife this can lead to injury. A dull knife will make you put more force into the turkey; by doing this you are at risk of your knife flailing in a different direction than you expected it to go. This can lead to lacerations on your own body or someone’s body around you. You can avoid this by either buying a new set of knives or buying a sharpening kit! Both of these will help you avoid this type of injury.

Don’t forget about that oven

If you are cooking a turkey the right way, then you know you need to put it in the oven of hours. It can be very easy to forget about the turkey that’s been sitting in the oven for hours if you do not set a timer. If you do not pay attention to the turkey could burn to a crisp leaving your Thanksgiving meal ruined. This could also make your house full of smoke which could be deadly!

Watch the kids

A good Thanksgiving means a full house of family & kids! As you know kids love to run around & for some reason they seem like they never run out of energy. Make sure you have an eye on them when you are cutting the turkey or taking things in & out of the oven. You do not want an accident to happen with a child running into something extremely hot or getting cut with a knife!

 

 

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