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All Posts in Category: medical news & updates

Should I Be Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19?

Many people may be wondering what a second wave of COVID-19 is and what it may look like. Think of the first wave of COVID-19 as the number of coronavirus infections climbing and then falling. The first wave doesn’t appear to have ended in the U.S, since the virus has still not been brought under control, and neither has the cases of coronavirus infection declined substantially. It’s a bumpy situation across the U.S with some states experiencing a decline in new infections, while others are witnessing spikes. Should you be preparing for a second wave of COVID-19? The experts think so. 

Is a Second Wave of COVID-19 Expected?

The U.S has been experiencing a bumpy ride in how it’s been impacted the COVID-19 pandemic, with states across the country seeing spikes and declines at one point or another. One thing is certain and it’s that COVID-19 is still here and continuing to do damage. The U.S has yet to see an end to the first wave of COVID-19, with an increase and not a substantial decrease in the number of cases of coronavirus infections currently. This surge and the reasons behind them gives the experts cause for concern. A vaccine is still not developed and people are left to rely on adherence to precautionary measures to keep from catching COVID-19, but the data shows that people are not adhering to the measures. Furthermore, the relaxation of restrictions without proper policies in place to support contact tracing, for example, makes the threat of a second wave seem more convincing. A second wave of COVID-19 could possibly hit in the near future if greater emphasis is not placed on the need to control the spread of COVID-19. 

Not a Reduction, But Spike in COVID-19 Cases

The Trump administration unveiled guidelines for reopening the country back in April, and it included a 14-day decline of confirmed COVID-19 cases or a decline of positive tests as a percent of total tests within that period. Many states were eager to get back to business but didn’t meet the established federal guidelines. When Florida, for example, began the first phase of reopening, it failed to meet a two-week decline in cases, and the state experienced an increase in cases per day a week before reopening. This failure to follow the federal guidelines for reopening has led to a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Florida and other states.

Furthermore, people have become increasingly neglectful in wearing their masks and maintaining social distancing, which increases the risk of transmission, resulting in a spike in the number of new cases of coronavirus infection.

How to Prepare For a Second Wave of COVID-19

It’s imperative that healthcare workers are equipped with adequate resources, such as PPE to respond to a second wave of COVID-19. They should have enough equipment and supplies in stock, and beef up, if possible, continued preventative policies that are intended to keep patients and staff safe. What can you do to prepare? Some quick tips include:

  • Continue to adhere to COVID-19 preventative measures, including social distancing, regular hand-washing and wearing your face covering
  • Know how to contact local health authorities and stay abreast of COVID-19 development, like a spike in coronavirus infections
  • Stock your household with two weeks’ supply of food, prescription medication, and other necessary supplies.
  • Ensure that children in the household are up-to-date on their vaccines, and everyone should get the flu shot in time for the flu season.

Whether or nor a second wave of COVID-19 is near, continue taking all the necessary precautions to keep safe. Visit one of First Call Urgent Care’s convenient locations for COVID-19 diagnostic and/or antibody testing, as well as telemedicine screenings that are, quick, safe, and reliant. We are here for your healthcare needs and our team of skilled healthcare professionals have you covered.

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Why Patients Should Not Defer Care Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has many people scared and one response to the outbreak of the pandemic and the social distancing requirements involves patients deferring necessary medical care. This is a point of concern because this means that patients’ conditions would likely worsen while they choose to avoid going to the hospital from fear of exposure to COVID-19. Some patients have delayed care for reasons that stem from fear of exposure to the coronavirus to the burden of out-of-pocket costs when jobless. Deferred care is only likely to make a bad situation worse.

Patients Defer Necessary Medical Care Due to COVID-19

Many patients defer necessary medical care due to COVID-19. According to recent data from Cigna, patients have deferred treatments for seven different acute clinical conditions, including acute appendicitis, acute coronary syndromes, aortic aneurysm and dissection, atrial fibrillation epilepsy and seizure, gastrointestinal bleed and transient ischemic attack. All these conditions require immediate care, and a consistent reduction in hospitalization since COVID-19 is a disturbing sign that patients are opting not to seek medical care.

The fear of contracting the virus is a concern of many patients who need urgent care but would rather stay home than risk it. Others feel like the work that doctors are doing to fight COVID-19 is far more important than their health issue that is unrelated to coronavirus, and some patients have delayed care because they may have lost their jobs, and as a result, health insurance and income to cover out-of-pocket health-care costs. It is not only crucial that patients continue to seek medical care during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also important that they have access to critical clinical care.

Impact of Deferring Medical Care

A patient deferring medical care can have serious financial and health implications. It can lead to higher healthcare costs and unhealthier outcomes for many patients. A patient’s health may deteriorate when they defer care, making an already bad situation far worse. Missed care may very well impact survival rate, whereby a worsening health condition could mean death, consequently. Another reality of the impact of deferred medical care is that worsening health will likely result in higher healthcare costs. Bigger health problems usually require more money to fix. Many Americans are faced with unemployment, making medical care unaffordable for many patients.

Access Medical Care During COVID-19

Patients’ access to medical care is important during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that immediate medical care as well as continued care is received. Patients can access care by visiting an urgent care center that has COVID-sanitation policies, telemedicine, and COVID-19 testing. If you would like to seek medical care at a local urgent care center, do your research and ensure that the facility is equipped with the necessary tools to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure your safety.

Fears around exposure to COVID-19 has many patients deferring medical care. However, this move can have serious implications on a patient’s health and burden them with healthcare costs later on. Deferred medical care when your medical condition requires immediate care is a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t let COVID prevent you from getting the medical care you need.

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What happens during COVID-19 Antibody Testing?

As states and local businesses prepare to reopen, patients may be looking for more information about whether or not they have been exposed to COVID-19. Between the relatively young age of the virus and the high number of positive cases where the patient has not exhibited symptoms, much information is still being researched and determined. By getting tested for COVID-19 antibodies, you will be able to determine if you have developed an immune response against the virus.

What is done during an antibody test?

An antibody test detects the presence of antibodies, which is formed after an infection. Antibodies are an immune response to an illness or virus that can be found through a simple blood test. In order to get tested for COVID-19 antibodies, you must visit Centennial Medical Group. Please wear a mask when visiting our center for testing.

What do my test results mean?

positive antibody test result indicates that you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have developed an immune response to the virus. Research is still being conducted to determine whether or not that indicates immunity to further infection. If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, you should continue to follow local health and safety guidelines including wearing a mask or protective face covering in public areas and social distancing.

negative antibody test indicates no exposure to COVID-19 and that you have not developed antibodies for the virus.

Differences between COVID-19 Diagnostic & Antibody Testing

COVID-19 diagnostic testing is used to detect and diagnose the active COVID-19 virus. Testing is performed by taking a swab of the lower nasal cavity, which takes only a moment and is painless for the patient. Results are typically available within three days. Antibody testing is performed by taking a blood sample and can only determine if there has been a past infection. The test detects the presence of antibodies formed about ten days after an infection has healed. Due to this, it is recommended you wait between ten and fourteen days after symptoms subside to get tested for COVID-19 antibodies. It is important to note that while you may get a negative result back from your antibody test, you may have been exposed in the days leading up to your test.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing in Elkridge & Columbia, MD

If you are preparing to return to your workplace and are unsure if you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit a local urgent care center for testing.

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What Should I Know About COVID-19 Test Types?

COVID-19 testing has developed as the pandemic has continued, with more accurate swab testing and antibody testing available to detect a past infection with the virus. Whether or not you have exhibited symptoms of the virus, getting tested may be on your mind as you prepare to return to your workplace and states begin to reopen. We understand that you may have questions about testing, the different available tests and when to get tested. Learn more about testing and who is qualified!

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing is a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies in your blood. Your blood sample is sent to a private lab and evaluated to look for signs of protein or antibodies in your immune system. A positive test indicates past infection or exposure with the virus, even if you have not experienced any symptoms. The full power of the antibodies is still unknown and continuing to be studied. Even if you have antibodies, it is still important to continue following local and state health and safety guidelines.

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic swab testing is used to detect and diagnose an active case of COVID-19. A swab is taken of the lower nasal cavity and then brought to a lab for testing. The test takes only a few moments and is virtually painless. Results are available in two days.

What’s the Difference? 

The primary differences between diagnostic and antibody testing are how the sample is taken and what the test tests for. A diagnostic test will not show if you have antibodies from a previous exposure, while antibody testing will not identify a current case of COVID-19. Both tests require processing and analysis in a lab for accurate results.

How Long Does Testing Take? 

Both diagnostic and antibody testing results take about 2 business days to get back from the time the blood or nasal swab is taken. The process is quick, but until you get results back, you should still take all precautions recommended by the CDC and World Health Organization, as well as the state of Maryland. This includes wearing a protective mask or face covering, practicing social distancing and washing your hands regularly, especially after spending time in public areas.

COVID-19 Diagnostic Swab & Antibody Testing

If you are interested in learning more about or undergoing COVID-19 testing, visit Centennial Medical Group and First Call Urgent Care! We will be able to answer your questions and provide efficient testing, with results in only a couple of days. For more information, please call  410-730-3399.

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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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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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Kids

Keeping Kids Safe in Sports: Protective Eyewear for All

Even though sports have been played by youth for centuries, there are still a lot of improvements that need to happen. Things have started to transition to a more conscious effort to keep children safe. Contact sports like hockey and football are prominent areas that could use improvement. Unfortunately, change is slow: it always has been and always will be. That’s why so many have gotten involved in campaigns and organizations that promote youth sports safety measures. A favorite place of attention for improvements to safety standards is in use and requiring of protective eyewear.

The Facts Behind Protective Eyewear

There are a lot of different things people believe about eyewear for youth sports. Many believe things that are not true, and others do not know anything at all. That’s why these facts are essential for understanding the vital role protective goggles can play in a child’s life.

Protective Eyewear is Not Just for Vision Prescriptions
There are some who believe goggles in sports are simply utilized for those who are vision impaired. While some goggles are prescribed for vision issues, the push to include protective eyewear in children’s sports is a movement for safety. Eye injuries happen a lot more in sports that are involved in conversations about youth athletics. By utilizing protective eyewear, safety takes center stage and becomes the pinnacle of innovation and progress in sports. At every level, adults and children are trying to play a game, and if physical or mental health risks exist, it is essential to address them.

Continuing the Progress of Safety in Sports

In football, awareness and advocacy surrounding concussions and brain injuries have made the sport safer than ever. While some argue it changes the game, nothing is worth the pain and suffering of a chronic or lifelong injury. At the very least, children should be more protected as they do not have complete control over their choices. Parents must take a look at the risk that eye injury poses and continue to advocate for protective eyewear in youth sports. Not only do the goggles make children safer, but they make the point that safety should never halt to an arbitrary concern standing in its way.

The Bottom Line About Safety in Youth Sports

Adults and parents have an obligation to keep children safe. There is no reason to avoid protecting one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body, the eyes, from harm. There are a lot of steps to go into making sure children are given access to these goggles, but until then, sharing information and facts about protective eyewear in sports is crucial to the wellbeing of children all over the United States of America.

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Autism

Ways to Get Involved with Autism Awareness Month

 

Autism Awareness Month takes place every April, and a lot of people like to get involved. It’s no surprise so many want to see Autism take a more central stage position in the social conversation. 1 in every 59 children in America is born with Autism, meaning that a lot of people are or know someone who is affected by Autism. It is not a disease that has been long supported. Like other developmental difficulties, Autism has long been seen as something that makes a childless or different. That concept could not be further from the truth, and many have worked to make sure that awareness is brought to the condition. If getting involved in Autism Awareness Month tops the list of things to accomplish in April, here are some excellent opportunities to help build attention locally and nationally.

Popular Forms of Autism Awareness Participation

There are a lot of ways to participate in Autism Awareness Month, all varying in effort and time spent to be a part of the cause.

Put the Puzzle Piece on Everything

The longtime logo for Autism Awareness is the puzzle piece. Simply placing it on popular and well-seen objects and social spaces can be very helpful in reminding people about Autism and its impact. For a long time, car bumper stickers and t-shirts were the most comfortable, most popular way to share awareness. Now, Facebook profile picture banners and cell phone cases are growing in popularity. Social media especially is a crucial space to spread Autism awareness because so many people utilize it as a tool for communication and information.

Join a Local Organization

Local Autism organizations are all over communities across the country. Volunteering time to a committee or event can make a big difference, especially given the budget of these organizations. Because so much of the organization’s money goes to the cause itself, staff numbers are usually kept relatively low. Volunteers are the life force of organizations like Autism Matters and others with local groups across the United States.

Keep the Conversation Going

Talking in person with others about Autism is essential, but the hashtag #StandUpForAutism is another excellent way to keep the conversation going online. Many use social media for more interaction than face to face socializing, so it is essential to spread the word as much as possible on Twitter and other digital spaces. Doing so grows awareness and helps Autism awareness to continue to become a necessary part of a popular conversation on health and wellness.

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Allergies by Season

 

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

Winter

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

Spring

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

Summer

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

Fall

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

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