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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

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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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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What Is Heatstroke And How to Prevent It

Heat stroke is a serious form of injury from heat and it’s considered a medical emergency. It’s advised to call 911 immediately and if you know first aid, to use it until paramedics are here. It’s that bad.

But there are many ways to treat it and prevent it from happening to you. Here are some things to keep in mind with heatstroke.

What Exactly Is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke or sunstroke is often a result of progression from other heat injuries like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat syncope. Heatstroke can also hit you even when you show no other signs in the past of heat injury.

Furthermore, heatstroke can cause quite a bit of damage. It can kill or cause damage to brain cells along with damaging other internal organs. You find heat stroke mainly targeting individuals over 50, however, it can show up in young athletes as well.

How Do You Get Heatstroke?

In order to prevent heatstroke, it’s important to know what it is but also how you could catch it as well. With heat stroke, you catch it when you are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of times.

Essentially heatstroke is caught when your body temperatures rise and your body fails to control your temperature. Medically speaking, heatstroke is when your body temperature is greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius).

Symptoms of heat stroke are having nausea, throbbing headaches, dizziness, dry skin, muscle weakness, lack of sweat despite warm temperatures, rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, seizures, fainting, or falling into a coma.

How To Prevent Heatstroke

The symptoms of heatstroke are dangerous which is why when someone is suffering from heatstroke it’s advised to be cautious when treating them. Furthermore, there are many actions that you can do to avoid heatstroke altogether. Here are some things to consider.

First wear light-colored, loose clothing along with a hat. Going for lightweight clothing helps in a variety of ways as when we are getting into the warmer seasons you want to wear something lighter. Furthermore, any darker colored clothing will absorb more heat which means a rise in body temperature.

Apply some sunscreen. Make sure that the sun protection factor is 30 or higher. As much as it’s important to get the suns rays you don’t want to cook yourself.

Drink a lot of fluids. It’s recommended to drink eight glasses of water a day, however, it doesn’t hurt to drink more in particularly warmer days. Furthermore be careful of sports drinks and certain water brands. In some cases, some beverages contain salt which makes you dehydrate faster and actually doesn’t hydrate you at all.

Take extra precautions when working out outside. It’s advised to drink 24 fluid ounces two hours before any kind of exercise outdoors. During exercising, it’s recommended to drink 8 ounces every 20 minutes, even when you aren’t feeling thirsty.

If you are feeling unwell, consider canceling or rescheduling outdoors activities. Temperatures drop down later on in the day and they are also low in the early morning. Consider doing your activities during those times when the sun isn’t high in the sky.

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What You Need to Know about Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmers Ear or otitis externa can be a common infection, especially during the summer where you are spending a lot of time in the water to cool off from the heat. But by being informed now you can learn quickly what it is, what are the causes, symptoms, and how you can treat it and prevent it from getting too serious. We’ve wrapped all that up into this post for you.

Causes & Symptoms

Swimmers ear is something that won’t show up as often as sunburns or dehydration, however, swimmers ear is still dangerous nonetheless. How swimmers ear comes to be is when water is brought into your ear but remains in your eardrums all the way to the outside of your head in the ear area.

Swimmers ear can be caused by inserting fingers, cotton swabs or any other objects in your ears which hamper your ear’s natural defenses. One cause can lead to that defense system being compromised, that being the build-up cerumen. Cerumen is a type of wax clump that builds up around the ear. It’s similar to earwax however it protects your ears from any kind of infections.

Some other causes of infection can be from excessive moisture in the ear, scratches or abrasions in the ear canal, and even sensitivity reactions.

As far as the symptoms go, they are normally mild at the beginning but get worse over time. You see, the water that’s left there is a perfect grounds for harmful bacteria to grow and spread. From there you can have mild to advanced stages of swimmers ears. On a mild scale, you can experience drainage of a clear and odorless fluid and maybe some itchiness around the area. On an advanced scale, you can experience complete blockage of the ear canal (making hearing muffled or even unable to hear.), severe pain, redness and swelling of the outer ear and fever.

Treating & Prevention

Swimmers ear, when spotted quickly, can be prevented when taking precautionary measures. Furthermore, if you can spot it early on, it can be treated with very little damage being done.

Some measures you can do to better prevent swimmers ear is to make sure your ears are dry or kept mostly dry. This can be done through the use of a blow dryer, drying the outside of your ear and also tipping your head to both sides to help your ears drain the water out.

You can also consider creating a solution of eardrops using white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Apply one teaspoon of it for each ear and let it drain. Do this before and after swimming. Drug stores will also sell eardrops too.

Some other suggestions are to avoid cleaning your ear with cotton swabs, paper clips or hairpins, using cotton balls in your ears when applying hair sprays and dyes. Furthermore, you can generally swim wisely by looking at the area where you’re going to swim and see if there are high bacterial counts on that day.

If you do happen to get swimmers ear, there are some ways to treat it. First, you need to see a doctor who will do a cleaning of the outer ear. As far as medication goes a doctor will most of the time prescribe eardrops that have a combination of some of these ingredients. These ingredients depend on the severity of the ear infection:

Steroids – reduces inflammation.

Antibiotic – fights bacteria.

Acidic solution – restores normal ear’s antibacterial environment.

Antifungal medication – fights the infection that was caused by fungus.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to ask your doctor what is the best method to take these eardrops as well.

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Spring Allergies: What You Need To Watch Out For

Seasonal allergies are triggered by a number of factors, and it is always advisable to take precaution early enough to avoid some of the adverse consequences they tow along. Spring is a season of transition from the long dull winters experienced by Americans to the promise of blue skies and warmer temperatures in weeks to come. Many people in the United States who suffer from seasonal allergies may not have much to celebrate during this period, and that is if they are not lucky enough to become victims of the same.
The allergy comes with some very obvious symptoms, and they range from troubled breathing, sneezing, running nose and itchy eyes around this time of the year.
It is important to understand its causes so that we have a proper vantage point from which to counter the condition. First of all, it is important to know the dust particles and pollen in the air play a big role in bringing about the allergies. The reason is that a concentration of these two in the air makes the body to react and produce histamines, chemicals responsible for attacking these particles. Once the chemical is in the bloodstream, it triggers the allergies aforementioned and thus causing the symptoms to the unlucky victims.
While this might seem a nightmare to many, it is more of a reality, but the good news is it can be contained.
There are several ways that researchers have proven to naturally counter these effects, and they include, but not limited to:

Diet
There is not much to say about this, but there are examples of foods that need to be added to the normal diet to boost your immunity. It is better to prevent than to cure and here is how you do that.
Apples
It is indeed true that they keep the doctor away, but two more in a day will do no harm. The fruit contains anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties called quercetin. This chemical lowers the amount of interleukin 6, which is basically the inflammatory cytokine responsible for allergies. With several of these in a day, your immune is boosted and has all it takes to combat the allergy.
Garlic
Apart from its role in spicing your meal, it seems like the bulb goes a long way in boosting your immunity. Research shows that it helps reduce the body’s allergic response and thus protect you from any form of attacks.
Fatty fish
For these diet type, it goes without saying that your body is nourished with every meal. And this is how it contains omega-3 fatty that helps curb body inflammations. At least 2-3 meals with fatty acids in a week will go a long way in fighting the allergy, especially when they start showing up.

Once you’ve added this to your normal meal, there are things you need to get rid of, and they include:
Dairy and Sugar.
Ranging from butter, cheese, eggs and sugary foods, they are a must drop, as they tamper with the immune system greatly. You should, however, try some supplements like Probiotics and essential oils for allergy reliefs. Probiotics help boost your immunity and enhance the body’s defense against foreign substances. And adherence to this removes all the worries you might be having about your health in spring, and you can now look up to summer positively.

Visit First Call Urgent Care today for your urgent care needs!

Visit our urgent care center, or call us at 410-730-3399 for more information.

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4 Simple Seasonal Allergies Home Remedy

It is a common problem that we encounter at some points in a year where we spend most of our finances trying to obtain medicines to help us control or treat ourselves from a health issue associated with that particular season of the year. It could come in many forms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes, sore throat, persistent cough, chest tightening, running nose, difficulty in breathing and sometimes rashes. Most of these reactions are often noticed during the beginning of spring when our green environment is replenished. These abnormal reactions we get are known as seasonal allergies and I bet you can understand how unpleasant the experience can be. Here, we have compiled a list of four powerful ways to keep yourself and your family free from the awful experience of seasonal allergies all season round. These are some simple home remedies and what we need are natural things we use in our homes on daily basis, no more spending on pharmaceutical products, just follow the simple tips and say goodbye to the irritating seasonal allergies.

Four things to do in order to prevent seasonal allergies:

  • SOME STINGING NETTLES

To get natural antihistamine and its accompanying benefits, this herb is a very great option, you can make tea from its dried leaves and on the same note nettle capsule can also be made available from the herbs, continuing its intake through the allergy period keeps you free unwanted allergies.

  • SOME MORE HONEY

Unmixed honey is very excellent in the fight against allergy at least many people have testified to it. Just understand that too much of everything is bad, so the dosage should just be optimum, a teaspoon three times a day will go a long way to keep you free from allergy throughout the season of allergy.

  • KEEPING A WATER LEVEL

It is very important to note the significance of keeping hydrated during the allergy season. More water in your system always goes a long way to keep the bodily activity smooth and steady, flushing out the effects of allergens and keeping you free from seasonal effects allergens throughout the season of the allergy. Just keep a level of more water and you will never regret the having the season come around.

  • KEEPING CLEAN

The season of allergy is equally a season you may need to take extra care of your body and hygiene. Apart from your intake of natural substances that will help keep you free through the allergy period, there are other cautions you need to keep during this period that will equally give you an edge to keep living your normal life during this period rather than going down on an awful allergy. Among the caution you need to take is having a steady bathe is recommended each night; this ensures that any residual pollen on your hair or skin that can severe the effect of an allergy is washed off during bathing. Another thing is having to change your clothes to a clean one after the day’s work outside.

With these tips a successful season free of allergies is rest assured!

Visit First Call Urgent Care today for your urgent care needs!

Visit our urgent care center, or call us at 410-730-3399 for more information.

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gastric reflux

How To Prevent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus. This usually happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, or the ring of muscle between esophagus and stomach.

There are several ways you can do to prevent the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus, which can permanently damage the esophageal lining. While taking medication or surgery might be necessary for some people, following these diet and lifestyle habits will help relieve GERD:

Lose weight

One of the leading causes of GERD is being obese. When you are overweighted, your abdomen is pressed by extra stomach fat, pushing gastric fluid up into your esophagus. If you are obese or at risk of obesity, losing a few extra pounds might help you prevent GERD.

Avoid food that causes reflux

These foods below should be avoided when you are at risk for GERD:

  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus
  • Mint
  • Chocolate

  • Onions

  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Carbonated drinks

Eat smaller meal

Divide your food intake throughout the day. Instead of having two big meals for lunch and dinner, consider having 4 -5 smaller meals per day. This will help relieve pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.

Don’t lie down after eating

Normally, gravity helps keep acid reflux from developing in your stomach. That’s why you shouldn’t lie down immediately after you eat. If you stretch out for a nap after your meal, chances are you are harming your esophageal sphincter.

 Elevate your bed

Similar to the previous tip, elevating the head of your bed can also help prevent acid reflux building up by utilizing gravity force. Make sure that your whole upper body is elevated and not just your head.

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4 Simple Home Remedies for Common Cold

ginger-1918107_1920Common cold is a terribly annoying illness. While it is usually not fatal, having to miss work or school for a few days is not fun. Also, spending days with a sore body is miserable. Fortunately, there are easy home remedies that you can use to speed up the recovery process. Take a look at these 4 simple home recipes:

Tulasi & Pepper

1 handful of Tulasi (holy basil) leaves & 10 black peppercorns (milagu). Mix both ingredients, grind them together and consume thrice a day. This preparation relieves cough & cold.

Karpooravalli & Pepper 

7 Karpooravalli (Anisochilus Carnosus) leaves & 10 black peppercorns. Mix both ingredients, grind them together and consume thrice a day. This preparation relieves cough & cold.

Ginger Kashaayam

4 teaspoon ginger Juice + 4 teaspoons honey + 2 teaspoons lemon juice + 3/4 cup water – mix & consume

Honey Ginger 

This recipe is similar to the Ginger recipe above but simpler. Mix 2 teaspoon of ginger with the same amount of honey. This mixture helps reduce mucus and relieve common cold, cough or a sore throat.

Visit First Call Urgent Care today for your urgent care needs!

Visit our urgent care center, or call us at 410-730-3399 for more information.

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