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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Why Should You Consider Using an Urgent Care Center?

Did you know that urgent care centers are one of the quickest growing areas of healthcare? With urgent care centers popping up in every town, sometimes more than one per town, it’s got people wondering what all the hype is about. If you’ve never used an urgent care center and you’re on the fence, these reasons are sure to change your mind! 

Low Cost

Urgent care centers charge a fraction of what an emergency room and traditional hospital setting does for the exact same care. Urgent care centers are designed to be as low cost as possible for the patient. In addition to their cost cutting design, they accept most major insurance companies. If you have insurance, the copay for an urgent care is usually about 1/3 of the amount of a copay for the emergency room! 

Convenient Location

With so many urgent care centers opening up, it’s almost guaranteed there’s one conveniently located close to you. Traveling to a hospital is not always easy when you’re sick or injured, but urgent cares take away that stress. You can probably find an urgent care on your way to or from work so you don’t even have to go out of your way for care! 

Flexible Hours

Urgent care centers open early in the morning and stay open late at night, with some even being open 24 hours per day. Traditional doctor’s office hours don’t pair well with the average work or school schedule, so these flexible hours are revolutionizing how easy it is to get medical care. There is no appointment needed for treatment either, so you can stop in whenever it fits into your schedule. Wait times are kept short because patients are seen on a first come first serve basis, unlike an emergency room. 

Comprehensive Care

Urgent care centers are able to offer the most comprehensive care of any medical establishment. Not only can they do physicals and offer vaccines, but they can treat broken bones, sprains, cuts, infections, and a variety of illnesses. Urgent care centers can treat both children and adults. They also have lab testing, x-ray imaging, and other services on-site that retail clinics and primary care offices do not have.

When you have the ability to get all the care you need, in a convenient location, on your own schedule, at a reasonable price, it feels impossible to go anywhere else for your medical needs! Give your local urgent care a call today to learn more about the services they offer. 

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How Can I Treat Strep Throat?

Strep throat is something that most of us will suffer from at some point in our life. It’s most commonly seen in young children, but anyone can be affected. When you’re suffering from strep throat, getting the right treatment in a timely fashion is vital to preventing the spread of the illness to those around you. 

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that’s highly contagious. It causes fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and red or white splotches along the back of the throat. If strep throat is left untreated, it can cause the bacterial infection to spread to nearby areas and even affect other internal organs. 

Home Remedies

Home remedies may be able to help relieve some of your strep throat symptoms until antibiotics are able to clear the infection. Common home remedies include: 

  • Drinking hot tea or warm water with lemon and honey
  • Over the counter pain relievers 
  • Using a humidifier to breathe in moist air 

Lower your risk of catching or spreading strep throat by not sharing personal items, washing your hands frequently, and coughing or sneezing into your arm rather than your hands. Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, it cannot be treated with home remedies alone. Even if you notice symptom improvement initially, strep throat will continue to progress until you get the right antibiotics in your system. 

When to Seek Professional Help

If a sore throat lasts more than 48 hours or comes along with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, visible rash along the back of the throat, or difficulty swallowing, you should visit a medical professional. A doctor or nurse practitioner will assess your symptoms, swab for strep throat, and provide antibiotics if you test positive. 

Strep throat is extremely contagious and can lead to more serious health conditions if it’s left untreated. Instead of waiting for the next available appointment at your family doctor, visit your local urgent care center to receive strep throat treatment. An urgent care center will be able to test for and treat strep in the same way a family doctor or emergency room would, but they do it at a fraction of the cost! Not only will you leave with a lower bill, you won’t spend hours in the waiting room before you’re seen. 

When it comes to strep throat time is of the essence, so head to your local urgent care center today!

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How Does a Patient Get an Upper Respiratory Infection?

Upper respiratory infections are more commonly referred to as the common cold and it’s something that every person will face in their lifetime. In fact, adults suffer from an average of 2-3 upper respiratory infections each year and children see even higher numbers! Winter and early spring are the peak season for colds, but they can happen any time of year. Whenever you’re suffering from the unpleasant illness you might find yourself wondering, how did you catch it in the first place? 

Causes of upper respiratory infection

Upper respiratory infections are caused by bacteria that enter the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth. You can also be exposed to the bacteria in the air if you’re in close contact with a sick person and they sneeze or cough, putting small mucus membranes into the air. A cold or upper respiratory infection can only occur if you’ve been exposed to the bacteria that causes it. Claims that cold weather causes the illness are outdated and untrue.

Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection

The symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include: 

  • Sinus pain and pressure
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Throat irritation and coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches 

Young children might also suffer from a low-grade fever. 

Treatment for Infections

Treating an upper respiratory infection begins at home with plenty of fluids and rest. You can also utilize a humidifier to help keep the air moist, and over the counter decongestants or cold medicines. Your symptoms should last no longer than 2 weeks. If your symptoms continue past 2 weeks, you’re suffering from a fever for more than 3 days, or you feel your symptoms are getting worse, you should visit a local urgent care center for professional treatment and diagnosis. 

Preventing an Upper Respiratory Infection

Since upper respiratory infections are caused by direct contact with bacteria, there are multiple things you can do to reduce your risk! Begin by practicing good hand hygiene. This means washing your hands frequently and thoroughly throughout the day. If you don’t have time to wash your hands, hand sanitizer can be used until you get the time. You should always remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage those around you to do the same. Avoid touching your face with your hands, especially when you’re at work or school. 

For more information about treating your upper respiratory infection and preventing more in the future, give your local urgent care a call or just stop in whenever you’ve got time! 

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What Are the Most Common Reasons Patients Use Urgent Care?

It’s no secret that urgent care centers are growing in popularity. It seems that every town and city has begun seeing them pop up one after another, but why is that? Urgent care centers are changing the way that the world of medicine works, let’s find out how! 

Why Are Urgent Care Centers So Popular?

Did you know that urgent care centers are one of the fastest growing branches of the medical industry? The last few years have seen rapid growth as patient begin to notice the perks of utilizing an urgent care center rather than an emergency room. A few of the most notable reasons why patients are choosing urgent care include: 

  • Cost – urgent care centers provide high quality care at an affordable price. The exact same testing and treatment options of an emergency room are offered at a fraction of the cost you would find at an emergency room or even a primary care physician. 
  • Time – urgent care centers operate on a first come first serve basis. That means that you’re treated in the order you arrive, regardless of what you’re there for. A traditional emergency room operates differently, seeing the most severe cases first. While this helps save lives, it leaves less-severe patients waiting for hours before they’re ever seen. Urgent care centers are helping to get patients seen faster and unclogging emergency rooms all at the same time. 
  • Flexibility – urgent care centers are great for people needing care that they could get from their primary care physician but are unable to get due to their schedules. Urgent cares typically open early and stay open late so you can come by when it fits into your schedule. 

What Do Urgent Care Centers Do?

The most common reasons to visit an urgent care include: 

  • Stitches 
  • Muscle strains
  • Minor fractures
  • Infections – ear infection, UTI, sinus infection, etc. 
  • Flu vaccine 
  • Physicals 
  • STD testing 
  • Respiratory illness – bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. 

Urgent care centers offer on-site x-ray imaging, blood work, and much more! Unless you’re suffering from a life-threatening injury or illness, urgent care will likely be able to give you the care that you need. 

Next time you’re in need of injury care, illness care, preventative care, or even just a physical, visit your local urgent care! Look online to find the nearest urgent care to you and learn more about their hours of operation and services offered. 

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What are the Most Common Seasonal Illnesses to Watch for?

We’re in the middle of the winter season which also means being in the middle of cold and flu season. These seasonal illnesses peak around this time of year, every year. Luckily, knowing what illnesses to expect makes them much easier to overcome! 

Seasonal Illnesses

The two most common seasonal illnesses are: 

  • Cold – the common cold is very contagious, but typically not serious. Symptoms of the common cold include nasal congestion, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and coughing. Not everybody displays all of these symptoms while some others may present symptoms not listed. The common cold can be treated using over the counter remedies and typically resolves in 5-7 days. 
  • Flu – the flu is the second type of seasonal illness, but it’s more serious than the common cold. The flu comes along with all of the same symptoms as a cold, but you may also feel muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, and a low grade fever. 

Prevention

There are some steps you can take to prevent these seasonal illnesses. First, remember to wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Each handwashing session should last at least 20 seconds to ensure your hands are actually clean. If you don’t have access to a sink, carrying hand sanitizer to use throughout the day is an easy alternative. Handwashing helps protect against the cold and the flu, but it isn’t enough on its own.

To lower your risk of catching the flu even more, get your flu shot each year. Anybody over the age of 6 months old is eligible to receive a flu shot. This vaccine is over 80% effective at reducing your risk of the flu and has little to no side effects. Even though the cold and flu season is already here, it’s not too late to get vaccinated! Visit your local urgent care or walk-in clinic to get your flu shot today. 

Treatment

Some seasonal illnesses can be treated at home using over the counter remedies, but others may require professional treatment. If you notice your condition worsening, a high fever, or signs of dehydration, visit your local urgent care center right away. The expert staff at an urgent care center will help diagnose you and offer treatment options that are right for you. No appointment is needed and most insurance is accepted, so why continue suffering when urgent care could help?

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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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