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All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

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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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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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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Prepare Your Kids For School Sports Season

More and more parents have enlisted their kids in school sports nowadays. Besides the obvious health benefits, sports teach the players teamwork, communication, and disciplines which will groom them into well-rounded individuals. In order for young athletes to fully enjoy the experience, there are some easy things parents could do. Here are a few of them:

Let the kids prepare their own breakfast

By waking up 15 minutes earlier every day, kids can have enough time to get ready for school and make themselves breakfast. This will tremendously help develop their own discipline, which is critical to any sports team. A team can only be as strong as the players who make it up. It’s not that difficult, and you should encourage your kids to adopt this habit as soon as possible before the school year begins.

Act as a role model

Like father, like son. Your kids most likely adopt your habits and behaviors which include both good and bad ones. If you exhibit a healthy and active lifestyle, that will greatly benefit your young ones. Instead of eating junk/fast food regularly, cook up proper meals. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV all day, sign up for the gym or go for a run few times a week. Your health, and your kids, of course, will be grateful for that!

Sports physicals

A sports physicals is a series of test to determine any underlying risk of illness or injury before young athletes sign up for sports at school. Almost every school requires this examination from students before accepting them into sports programs. It doesn’t take much of your time and effort and could prevent your kids from getting serious injuries in future.

If your student athlete is joining a sports team this upcoming season, visit FirstCall Urgent Care for a sports physicals.  We also treat common sports injuries such as:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • & More

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

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Evidence-Based Nutrition Tips to Improve Overall Health

If you’ve ever tried to look up some nutrition info online or asked a friend for advice, you’ve likely heard some conflicting statements. Many of the nutrition tips we’re told are actually opinions rather than evidence-based facts. Today we’re going to share some of our favorite nutrition tips that can actually be backed with solid evidence and science, not just one strong opinion.

Processed Foods are Bad

Many diet plans recommend sticking to whole foods and avoiding processed options, but it turns out that recommendation comes from real evidence. The processed foods we eat are loaded with unnecessary chemicals and sugars that trigger the pleasure center in the brain. That causes you to want to eat more processed junk and ultimately, your health pays the price.

Sleep is Key

Rather you want to improve your mental or physical health, sleep is the answer. Without enough quality sleep your body’s performance begins to go downhill. You’ll be less focused, more likely to eat unhealthy foods, and be at an increased risk for diabetes. Kick-start your new healthy sleeping habits by setting a “bedtime” for yourself each night and avoiding all electronics for one hour prior to that time.

Drink Water Before a Meal

Did you know that drinking more water makes your body begin to burn more calories? In fact, if you drink 2 liters of water per day, your body will automatically be burning 96 extra calories! Enjoy some water 30 minutes prior to each meal time. This habit will help you to feel full faster and gradually lose weight.

Monitor Your Intake

Evidence shows that occasional monitoring of your food and beverage intake is very good for your overall health. Not only does monitoring allow you to know exactly how many calories you’re consuming, but what’s in those calories as well. Once you get in the habit of checking the nutrition label you’re more likely to make healthier choices, even if you aren’t counting calories. Pay attention to your protein, fat, and carb intake to see where you can improve your diet.

Surround Yourself with Positive Relationships

Negative personal relationships in your life could be having a negative impact on your health. Not only do positive personal relationships improve mental health, but physical health as well. Studies have shown that people with positive friends and family relationships take better care of themselves and have a higher life expectancy.

If you’ve heard other help tips that you’re skeptical of, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or do some research on your own! Evidence-based facts are widely agreed upon and supported by plenty of notable research. Just remember, not every health tip you’re told is actually true!

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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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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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Why Spring is The Best Time to Take Your Workout Outdoor

workout outdoorGoodbye snowy winter and welcome, lovely spring. It’s that time of year again, when spring’s warmth melts Maryland’s lingering snow/ice, bare trees bloom beautiful flowers and the great outdoors beckons once again. Now is the time to take your workouts outside and boost your fitness. Spring offers considerable benefits when it comes to an outdoor exercise regimen.

Push It Real Good

The outdoors has a magical way of getting people to put more effort into their workout without even recognizing it. Recent studies have provided evidence that suggests that participating in physical activity in a natural environment, may help an individual achieve a greater intensity of exercise without the perception of effort changing, partly because the outdoor environment increases enjoyment, offers social interaction and increases the frequency of physical activity.

Nature’s Refreshing Appeal

The outdoors screams natural, green, sunlight and open, which is good for both the mind and body. In spring, you can find the beautiful sounds of birds and the ocean, sights of exquisite blooms of flowers and wildlife, and calming spaces to rejuvenate the body and spirit. The Institute of Medicine contends that exposure to plants and flowers nourishes a sense of well-being, by enabling people to feel calmer and more relaxed. Spring is the season of refreshment and revival.

Natural Setting is Better than a Gym

The gym can be a dull, crowded place, and can stifle enthusiasm. Taking your workout outdoors is more enjoyable because it allows you to be more dynamic with your exercise programs and you can avoid gym equipment altogether. One review of studies comparing participation in physical activity in natural environments with physical activity indoors, confirms that participants reported greater enjoyment and positive engagement exercising outdoors.

Jazz up Your Mood

The link between outdoor exercise and mental health is a positive one that continues to be proven. Simply being in nature, you realize its calming effect; add exercise in that environment and you boost that benefit significantly. Doing your workout outdoors helps with short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue, according to one study, and in effect, improves mood. This amounts to a natural way to lift your mood in a natural environment.

Cheaper than a Gym Membership

Some of the gym memberships out there are just too expensive. Working out outdoors saves you money because you don’t have to worry about a monthly membership fee. A better investment would be to buy a good pair of running or walking shoes or exercise mat.

Exercising in the natural environment has many wonderful benefits that a typical gym may not provide. It pushes you to work harder, leaves you feeling more refreshed, and is capable of jazzing up your mood, cost-effective and far more pleasant than the inside of a gym. Spring is the ideal time to get outdoors and sweat up a storm.

 

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