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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Why Adults Need Regular and Frequent STD Testing

Every adult is responsible for his or her own health and getting regular and frequent testing for sexually transmitted diseases or infections is an important part of taking care of yourself. Not only is this necessary for your own health and safety, but for the health and safety of your sexual partner, as well. Even if you get regular testing and are free of sexually transmitted infections, always use protection and encourage your partner(s) to get tested, too. 

STDs Are on the Rise

Although more research and resources are available now than ever, STD rates are on the rise in the US. There are many reasons for this, including the stigma around STDs, ignorance about STD testing, and lack of communication between partners. There is no shame in getting tested for STDs and is something every sexually active adult must do regularly.

You may think that STD testing is part of your regular annual physical or gynecological exam, but this is not the case. Many people think that it’s included in your annual exam and since they don’t hear any results, they assume they are free of STDs. You usually need to ask for your doctor to perform an STD test. You may also assume that your partner is free of STDs, has been tested, and knows about proper testing methods. It’s important to talk to your partner about STD testing to make sure you are both healthy and safe. 

Another reason for the spread of STDs is that many have mild to no symptoms at all. You can have an STD without symptoms and not know it. This is why it’s so important to get tested regularly, even if you think you are healthy. 

As fewer people get tested, STD rates rise. You should get tested between every sexual partner and continue to get checked regularly. 

Get Fast and Affordable Testing

There are many options for affordable and accessible STD testing today. You can even test yourself at home with a kit. However, these kits usually require you to send a sample of your blood or urine off to a lab before you get results, so it doesn’t really save time compared to a doctor’s visit. Also, sometimes the samples are inconclusive and need to be retaken and resent.

Urgent care is an excellent resource for STD testing. You can walk in at any time and often get same-day results. This spares you from making and waiting for a doctor’s appointment, taking your own sample at home, or having unprofessional or inconclusive results. You can get peace of mind quickly, even if you don’t have health insurance. 

No matter what gender you are, your sexual history, or how many partners you have had or currently have, all sexually active adults must get regular STD testing. Don’t wait; walk into your local urgent care and get peace of mind right away.

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What are Common Cold and Flu Symptoms?

Everyone suffers from sickness from time to time, and cold and the flu are two common illnesses that are easily spread. Although they have similar symptoms, the treatments for colds and the flu are different, so it’s important to know which one you have. You want to start treatment and feel better as soon as possible, so how can you tell which sickness you have?

Why You Need to Know the Difference

Colds and the flu are both illnesses that affect the respiratory system, but they are caused by different viruses. This also means that the treatment for colds and the flu are different. You may be able to manage the symptoms with the same over the counter medications, but the underlying cause cannot be treated the same. The symptoms for both the cold and the flu can be very similar, making them almost impossible to distinguish from each other on your own. 

A cold can linger for weeks and make it uncomfortable or impossible to get through your day. The flu can do the same, but if left untreated the flu can turn into pneumonia, which can be fatal. 

Symptoms

Because the symptoms of colds and the flu are so similar, it can be hard to tell them apart. Symptoms they share are a cough, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, body aches, headaches, weakness, and fatigue. Flu symptoms are usually stronger than cold symptoms and may be more debilitating. 

The flu is much more likely to give you a fever and chills than a cold, although a cold may have these symptoms too. The flu can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. The flu can come on very abruptly, while cold symptoms may creep up on you gradually. The common cold is unlikely to lead to any complications or more serious illnesses, while the flu can lead to pneumonia or other infections that require medical attention. 

Treatment

Getting an accurate diagnosis is important to properly treat your illness, whether it is the common cold or the flu. Flu tests often must be done within the first few days of illness, so it’s important that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above to get tested for the flu. 

You can get a flu test at urgent care. If you get a rapid test, you should receive results within about 10-15 minutes of taking the test. If you test positive for the flu, you may be able to receive a shot or other treatment to help treat the flu, relieve your symptoms, and shorten the length of your illness. More importantly, getting treatment will help prevent complications and more serious illnesses. If you don’t have the flu, you can still get treatment for your cold at urgent care, too. This will help you feel better faster and get back to your normal routine.

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How to Manage Stress and Other Health Conditions During the Holidays!

Stress and the holiday season are sometimes synonymous with one another, which can lead to actual health issues and complications The planning, decorating, cooking, entertaining, and general holiday chaos can build up significant stress level over a very short period of time. Holiday stress seems insurmountable but most patients can control their stress with a few prevention and self-care strategies! 

And if you every believe your stress could contribute to other health conditions, don’t hesitate to visit urgent care! An urgent care team provides patients with immediate and fast treatment for most medical needs!

How stress levels contribute to overall health conditions

High stress levels are linked to many health conditions, including chronic diseases that can lead to long-term healthcare conditions. Stress can exacerbate chronic disease factors like weight gain, high blood pressure, worsened mood, and other health factors. The types of diseases that can be triggered by stress levels includes heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), and similar ailments. Holidays are supposed to be a happy time, so why should you health worsen because of them? People who struggle with seasonal depression during the winter months are at an increased risk of poor stress management, but it can affect anyone. 

What to do to manage stress.

Managing your stress during the holidays isn’t easy, but it is possible. A few good tips to follow include: 

  • Set realistic expectations for shopping and planning – there are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in the week. Don’t overextend yourself by planning to go to too many holiday events or gift exchanges. Choose a couple each year and decline the rest of your invites. This also helps manage financial expectations of gift giving. 
  • Talk to someone – open up to a friend or family member about the stress that you’re feeling. Chances are, they’re feeling the same way! Sometimes just talking out your stress helps put it into perspective and make it more manageable. 
  • Set aside time for you – having time to yourself during the holidays is vital this will help you decompress and enjoy being alone before you attend the next family gathering or holiday party. 
  • Don’t disregard healthy habits – if you normally exercise every day, don’t let the holidays get in the way of that. No matter what your healthy habits may be, don’t forget to make time for them during your busy holiday schedule. 

Talk to a healthcare professional about stress during the holidays!

If you begin feeling overwhelmed with stress or depression this holiday season, reach out for help right away. Visit your local walk-in clinic to speak with a professional and get more tips to manage stress, or further treatment if needed.

If you need an expert ASAP, you can always visit First Call Urgent Care for key screenings and other prevention methods to help control stress this season!

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How To Treat Common Colds This Fall & Winter!

The end of the fall season and the start of winter time usually means fun family holidays, seasonal events, and a general good festive time! But if you and your families aren’t careful you could end up dealing with uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms!

The common cold affects people roughly 2-3 times each year, so it’s important to learn basic preparation skills! Thankfully, the team at First Call Urgent Care has provided an outline of seasonal cold prevention and treatment options for families! Additionally, patients can get treated for common colds ASAP at our urgent care center

What exactly is a common cold?

The common cold is a rhinovirus that can easily pass on from one patient to the next. A rhinovirus is specifically a virus that travels through person’s respiratory system, such as the nasal passages and throat. Rhinoviruses are extremely common in the fall and winter because people indoors can sneezing or cough in close proximity to several patients. The types of symptoms to look for to identify common colds includes: 

  • Headache
  • Fatigue 
  • Cough
  • Sore throat 
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose

Cold symptoms typically last 3-5 days but can extend up to a week or more if the cold is significant. There is no current vaccine for a rhinovirus so that means patients will want to prevent the cold and get immediate treatment to address symptoms. 

Is there a way to treat the common cold at home?

The good news for patients is that it is pretty easy to treat and manage common colds at home!

Hydration is absolutely key when it comes to preventing a cold. Try and eat high-energy and hearty foods to stay alert as well as plenty of fluids. Make sure you also get plenty of rest and stay home when you’re sick in order to ensure recovery is a success! 

Common cold prevention is also fairly simple if you take some time to practice basic skills. Try using over the counter medications designed to target congestion, runny nose, cough, and sore muscles. Keeping the air around you moist with a humidifier will also help keep your cough and congestion at bay. Hygiene is also an important factor in ensuring that cold and flu germs. 

Can I Get Treatment at an Urgent Care?

Yes, you can get treatment at an urgent care! There is no cure for the common cold, but an urgent care can help to manage your symptoms if home remedies aren’t cutting it. The common cold can cause other issues such as sinus infections or ear infections too, which will need prescription antibiotics from an urgent care health provider. Try to treat your symptoms at home and let the cold run its course first. If symptoms continue to get worse or don’t show any signs of improvement, it’s time to visit the urgent care. 

Our urgent care facility is staffed with cold treatment experts who are ready to make you feel better however we can! Walk-in any time to receive quick and affordable treatment by an experienced physician. We also offer seasonal flu shots for free with most major insurance companies. Even if you don’t have a cold, come in and get vaccinated before you end up with something even worse!

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Why Does a Walk-in Clinic Make Sense for Patients During Fall Season?

Fall is a wonderful time of year, but it’s also a time when a high number of people are in need of medical care. From a simple flu shot to treating a major sports injury, the medical community sees higher rates during the fall than any other time of the year. If you’re trying to decide where to receive the treatment that you need, these are all reasons that you should consider a walk-in clinic! 

Illness Prevention and Treatment

Walk-in clinics are the most convenient way to receive your flu vaccine and try to prevent the illness before it strikes. Walk-in clinics don’t require an appointment, are open longer than your doctor’s office, and will work with your insurance company to provide the flu shot at little to no cost to you. If you’ve waited too long to prevent an illness and are in need of treatment instead, we can help with that too! From a stuffy nose to a bad case of bronchitis, your local walk-in clinic will be able to diagnose and provide the medication you need to treat your condition. Even if the condition can’t be healed, we can help to make symptoms more manageable. 

An Alternative to the Emergency Room

Walk-in clinics are the ideal alternative to the emergency room. ER’s are known to have long wait times because they treat the most severe patients first, leaving less severe cases waiting for hours at a time. Alternatively, walk-in clinics treat on a first come first serve basis. That means even if you’re only here for a flu shot, you’ll still be seen in a reasonable amount of time! Walk-in clinics offer many of the same services as an emergency room at a fraction of the cost. 

Quick Treatment When Injury Strikes

When a fall sports related injury strikes, you need quick treatment. Waiting too long for injury treatment can actually cause that injury to become worse or lead to other injuries. walk-in clinics are prepared to handle sports related injuries quickly and provide referrals if further treatment is needed. Imaging and basic braces or casting is often available at walk-in clinics as well. 

If you’re in need of same-day treatment this fall season, it’s time to give your local walk-in clinic a try! If you have any questions or concerns about the treatment that’s offered, give us a call. Our team of experienced staff is dedicated to offering high quality treatment that fits the schedule of every patient, even during the busy fall season.

If you have any more questions, please let us know by calling us at 410-730-3399

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Who Needs a Flu Shot? Why Don’t Adults Vaccinate More Than Children?

Flu season is here and you’ve probably seen plenty of signs and commercials encouraging you to receive your flu shot. Despite all of the advertisements each year, many people still choose not to vaccinate, leaving themselves vulnerable to the flu. Let’s take a closer look at who chooses not to vaccinate and understand why that might be. 

Why Children Get Vaccinated More

Children tend to get vaccinated more for multiple reasons. First, they’re at the highest risk out of any group. In fact, children ages 0-4 are more likely than any other group the get the flu. Another reason is because many parents put their child’s health above their own.

They’ll take the time to get their children vaccinated because they don’t want to see them sick, but they fail to do the same for themselves. Children tend to see their pediatrician more frequently than adults see their primary care physician which is yet another reason why they tend to be vaccinated before their parents. 

Should Adults Get Vaccinated too?

Yes, adults should get vaccinated! Over half of the adults in this country opt out of their flu vaccine each year, but it isn’t because they aren’t at risk for the illness. Adults typically come into contact with the flu at their place or work, the grocery store, or even while shaking hands with a friend. Just because you aren’t going to school with a bunch of kids doesn’t mean you won’t come into contact with the flu!

Everybody over the age of 6 months old should receive their flu shot, including elderly people and pregnant women. 

Where to Get Vaccinated

Your local urgent care center is the best place to get vaccinated before peak flu season hits. Urgent care centers are able to offer quick treatment that works with your busy schedule. No appointment is needed, simply come by when you have a few extra minutes and you’ll protected all season long! Urgent care centers accept most major insurance companies and the flu shot is typically covered at little to no cost to you. 

If you have questions about receiving your flu shot or getting one for your child, give us a call today! Our team of flu fighting experts are standing by, ready to help keep you happy and healthy this flu season. No matter your age, your health should always be a top priority!

And make sure that you get vaccinated at First Call Urgent Care for your seasonal flu shots! 

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Places that the flu virus spreads more quickly

The influenza virus can cause flu-related illnesses and other health consequences for millions of people annually. By protecting yourself against the disease, families can ensure they are vaccinated, hygienic, and less likely to get the disease.

A big part of preventing the flu virus is knowing how, and where, the flu virus is likely to spread. Certain publicly shared spaces and environments have a greater chance of increased flu activity versus staying outdoors for prolonged periods of time. This is because the flu passes from host to host more rapidly when people are inside contained spaces. The flu is more likely to pass through direct contact, such as touching hands with an infected patient, or through airborne transmission.

Your child’s schools are more likely to experience increased flu activity than most other places

Younger children between the ages of 6-12 usually have the highest incidences of flu activity and infection than other schools. The result of this is usually children that haven’t quite learned how to stay hygienic are are still learning how to prevent the common cold and flu.

Teachers, school staff, and school nurses do their best to teach children how to stay healthy and safe during flu season. Sometimes, schools will organize special events to help prevent the flu, but it may not be enough.

Additionally, middle and high schools are also likely to see upticks in flu activity since the close proximity of several students can quickly cause a flu outbreak.

Workplaces and offices usually lead to significant flu activity

An office setting or a workplace can also breed flu epidemics and outbreaks if employees don’t stay at home with the flu.

Many employees may feel obligated to continue working even though they show signs of having the flu [link]. When this happens, the flu can travel across desks, countertops, and from direct peer-to-peer interactions.

The flu is attributed to massive setbacks in production and workforce participation since many employees may not be sure if the flu is going around at their office.

Remember to get a flu shot at First Call Urgent Care to stay safe in flu-heavy environments!

As a friendly reminder, First Call Urgent Care provides effective flu shots for patients that are fast, affordable, and accessible flu shots any day of the week!

Simply call in advance or get directions to get your flu shot ASAP! Our walk-in clinic allows patients to get their shots without an appointment.

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How can I tell if my symptoms are the flu?

The flu season is pretty much kicking off at this moment.  As more people stay close together indoors during gatherings, work, and school the flu has a greater chance of spreading from person to person.

The best way to protect against the flu virus is with an updated flu vaccine known as a “flu shot.” Without a flu shot, your chances of getting the flu increase significantly and could lead to a variety of uncomfortable, or even painful, symptoms.

Diagnosing the flu early can help most patients prevent further diseases, treat the disease faster, and ensure that they are ready to coordinate any symptom treatment that they may need. However, the best way for patients to prevent the flu is to first get a flu shot at a nearby urgent care center!

Fever is the first symptom of having the flu for most patients.

A higher-than-normal fever after a few days usually means you’re coming down with a case of the flu. Usually, a fever is the very first sign that you are infected with the flu virus.

Unlike other diseases, the flu usually leads to early onset symptoms after just a day or two, sometimes up to three. In those first two days, a fever is the best indicator of the flu. Record the severity of a strong headache or a potential fever for a day or two and then see a nearby medical provider, like an urgent care center, to coordinate treatment.

Flu symptoms include sneezing, coughing, congestion, and sore throat among others

When the flu has fully spread throughout your body, then you’ll begin to notice some traditional symptoms of the flu such as sneezing, coughing, congestion, sore throat, and general respiratory irritation.

During this time, breathing becomes harder and your body is fatigued as it fights of the influenza virus. Usually, patients will need extended rest or days off in order for their body to completely fight off the flu virus.

In rare cases the flu virus can lead to hospitalizations

Many patients may not fully realize that the flu can especially impact the health and safety of vulnerable individuals, which leads to hospitalizations. Patients that have trouble breathing, asthma, respiratory issues, or auto-immune deficiencies may have more serve symptoms that require intensive hospital care.

To avoid the flu, simply visit First Call Urgent Care to get your flu shot and receive seasonal flu treatment for any potential flu-related illnesses!

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How Much Time, and Money, Does Having the Flu Cost?

Although getting sick with the flu may not feel like a big deal right now, your opinion might change once you actually come down with the illness. Not only are the symptoms very uncomfortable, but they can take you out of your normal routine for days or even a full week. This can affect your productivity at work or school, and you can also lose money on treatment. Here’s what you should expect if you come down with the flu. 

The flu lasts one to two weeks

While many people hope to head back to work or school after a day or two, the truth is that the flu lasts for one to two weeks for most people. In severe cases, it can last even longer than that. Not only are you missing out on important work and school, but during that entire time, you’ll need to spend extra money on products from the drugstore to stay healthy, and you may need to pay for medical treatment as well. 

You may need to use sick days to miss work

When you come down with the flu, call out of work since the virus so contagious. However, this means you’ll need to tap into your sick or personal days to make sure you still get paid. If your company doesn’t offer sick days, you will actually lose money by missing work, which can be devastating. 

Kids may need make-up days from school

If your child gets sick with the flu, chances are they will miss a lot of important learning at school. They may come back and find they are far behind their peers and need to do make-up assignments to catch up. In some cases, if you miss enough school, you’ll need to take extra make-up days on weekends or holidays. 

Getting a flu shot prevents the flu

To avoid missing out on work or school, make sure you get a flu shot during flu season. Flu shots are easy to get through your local urgent care center, clinic, or pharmacy, and are available at affordable pricing. They are particularly important for kids going to school or adults who work in large offices, where illnesses spread quickly. 

Now is the perfect time to get a flu shot, before fall hits and flu season picks up. Visit your local clinic today, and you can make sure that you don’t lose valuable time and money to the flu this year. 

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What are some benefits of back-to-school physicals for my child?

With the school year fast approaching, it’s time to make sure your child gets their annual physical. Not only do many schools require children to get a physical exam, but these exams help address medical concerns and lower overall stress during the year. Here are some of primary benefits of scheduling a back to school physical for your child. 

Preventative Care

Getting preventative care as your child develops can help prevent health problems later on in life. Your child’s doctor will get to know you both so they can give relevant care and advice, given your lifestyles. Your pediatrician will also perform a variety of routine tests, which helps them catch any problems as early as possible. 

Development Checks

It’s important that your child is growing and developing at a rate that is appropriate given their age and gender. Your annual physical is an ideal time to check in on this and make sure that your child is on track for a long, healthy life. If there are any concerns, your doctor can address this by prescribing medication and recommending further treatment. By catching problems early, you can take care of them quickly, ensuring a more productive learning environment for your child. 

Medical Vaccinations and Health Review

Your child must get their vaccinations every year to prevent the spread of diseases. Since your child is going to be near so many other kids for most of their day, preventing the spread of illness should be a big concern. Your doctor will do a comprehensive review of your child’s entire health, which can help both of you stay informed as you head into the new semester. 

Helps School Staff to Prevent Medical Issues

When your children are at school, their teachers and other school staff are responsible for keeping them safe. After a physical, you can bring your child’s medical information directly to their school, and inform them about the best ways to handle any medical conditions. The exam is also used to help them effectively handle any injuries or illnesses that might come up. Close communication between parents, kids, and school staff is crucial to a safe and healthy environment at school. 

If school is fast approaching and you are unsure of where to get a physical, consider visiting your local urgent care center. They provide affordable and comprehensive physicals, and they are also very accessible, particularly if you don’t have much time to get a physical done. 

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