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All Posts in Category: medical news & updates

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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kid with allergies

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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lady with back pain

4 Tips to Manage Your Back Pain

 

Back pain is a common complaint among people of all ages and activity levels. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide! Back pain can be debilitating and finding a solution may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Follow these simple tips to begin managing your back pain at home today!

Ice and Heat

If you’ve suffered an injury that caused your back pain, ice and heat are the best way to reduce inflammation. For the first 48 hours following the injury, stick to ice. Be sure not to leave the ice on for too long though! A general rule of thumb to follow is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Once the first 48 hours have passed, begin alternating ice and heat in 20-minute segments. The combination will help relieve pain and regain motion of the affected area.

Go for a Walk

The couch may be tempting when you’re suffering from back pain but sitting or lying for too long will actually make the pain worse. Instead, you should try to keep moving each day. Go outside and take a short walk to get your heart rate up and blood flowing! As your pain begins to lessen and your recovery continues, you should aim to add time or speed to your daily walks.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of a good stretching session! You should take 20-30 minutes each day to stretch your muscles and joints. This will work to keep you flexible and discourage joints from becoming stiff. Even if your job entails standing for long periods, you should still take time to stretch side to side and forwards to loosen your back and hip muscles. If you need help remembering to stretch, set the alarm on your phone and begin doing it at the same time each day until it becomes a habit.

Maintain Good Posture

Posture often gets neglected throughout a long day. If you’re suffering from back pain, your poor position could likely be the cause. Instead, you’re sitting or standing, try to be conscious of your posture. Your spine should be aligned straight up and down, from your tailbone to your neck. If you have to bend or lift during the day, maintain proper posture with those movements too! It’s easier than you think to bend over wrong and pull a muscle in your back that will lead to days or even weeks of annoying back pain.

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The differences between urgent care, retail centers, and primary care

Many patients may confuse urgent care centers, retail clinics, and primary care offices because of their similar names/services.

However, it is important to understand that these types of medical providers have varying degrees of comprehensive care, clinical capabilities, and other ways to provide care to patients. So what are the main differences between each

Retail Clinics

Retail clinics provide walk-in services for patients are located inside of  large stores, like supermarkets and department retailers. Instead of physicians, retail clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs), and are intended to be affordable and efficient.

Different location operators provide different services, but generally, retail clinics provide care for common illnesses and injuries, including a sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, allergies, minor cuts, burns, rashes and headaches. Some retail clinics may also perform immunizations, annual physicals and health screenings. The operating hours for retail clinics vary, but are generally open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m during the week. 

Primary Care

Primary care offices are staffed by family physicians and provide a variety of services intended to support continuous care. Primary care physicians establish a relationship with their patients, manage their health, provide patient education and counseling, and promote wellness improvements. 

Primary care providers, or PCPs, are responsible for offering preventative services that can keep illness at bay. A primary care office performs vaccinations, physicals, check-ups, screenings and blood work, and help with the management of diseases such as diabetes and asthma. PCPs provide specialty referrals if they identify any outstanding healthcare risks or concerns. Usually PCPs are open during regular business hours without the flexibility of urgent care centers. 

Make sure to meet a new potential PCP and evaluate if they are a good fit for you or your family.

Urgent Care

Urgent care centers are a bit more advanced in clinical capabilities when compared to retail clinics, based on the staff and equipment available at an urgent care center. Most urgent care centers have at least one board-certified doctor in-house to treat patients during business hours. 

Most urgent care centers are equipped with x-ray imaging services that help evaluate and manage injuries like broken bones,  Whereas emergency rooms typically have long wait times, the average wait time at an urgent care center is 15 minutes or less, based on the most recent statistics on urgent care use. 

Ultimately, you’ll likely need at least two of these providers in order to have ideal healthcare access. For most patients, a PCP as well as a trusted urgent care center can help deliver the best possible healthcare outcomes.

 

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The best ways to manage sports injuries

Sports injuries happen at the most unexpected times at both the professional and collegiate level. When these injuries happen, it is important to know how to address sprains, fractures, and similar injuries as they happen.

Sports injury first aid and prevention is especially helpful to help stabilize patients with painful injuries. Make sure that you’re on top of your sports injury first aid, treatment, and prevention skills with these tips for addressing athletic injuries on the field!

Prevention and Self-Treatment are key to managing sports injuries

According to medical experts such as Harvard Medical School, most sports injuries can be evaluated and treated with various forms of first aid.

However, people need to understand the most common types of sports injuries in order to evaluate the severity of an injury. Common sports injuries for athletes of all levels include:

  • Sprains
  • Muscle pain
  • Bruises
  • Fractures
  • Concussions

Depending upon the severity of an injury, a patient may need to go to either the nearest urgent care center or an emergency room (ER) if the injury is potentially life-threatening. Thankfully, most sports injuries require urgent care.

If a person experiences a sports injury then you should begin the the P.R.I.C.E method of injury treatment. PRICE is a simple acronym to help patients remember the basic steps to managing an athletic injury:

  1. Prevention: Warm up and stretch before an sport or athletic event to prevent any injuries. Most sports-related injuries are preventable if athletes can effectively prepare before a sporting event.
  2. Rest: An injured limb and injured tissue require sufficient time to heal. If you experience an injury make sure to limit any pressure and put as little weight on it as possible. Then slowly work on moving the injured limb through therapy and treatment.
  3. Ice: Icing an injury is usually the simplest and most effective way to manage an injury. Medical experts recommend icing an injury between 15 to 20 minutes a day. As your injury heals, you’ll likely reduce the needed time to ice an injury.
  4. Compression: A broken limb is likely to swell a few hours after an initial injury. In many cases, you’ll need to compress the injury in a splint or cast depending upon how severe the injury is.
  5. Elevation: Another simple yet effective way to self-treat an injury is to elevate an injured limb above the head to reduce swelling, inflammation, or pain. If you have a hurt leg, then usually putting a pillow under the leg can help it heal faster.

 

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How Hepatitis Made a Comeback in 2018

2018 was an exciting year in many ways. Many changes for the better were made, but a few changes for the worst occurred as well. One of the most notable adverse changes that need to be addressed is the return of hepatitis. Hepatitis has been around for decades, but just last year the condition saw a rapid increase in the number of cases.

What Causes Hepatitis?

Hepatitis comes in three forms, A, B, and C. each form is an infection of the liver, but there are differences in how they affect the body and how they’re contracted. Hepatitis A is most commonly seen in those who travel internationally without receiving their vaccination. Food and water sources in unsanitary or uncontrolled areas carry hepatitis A. To avoid hepatitis A, you should always ensure you’re vaccinated before traveling overseas and only dine in established places. Hepatitis A is typically detectable by symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Hepatitis B and C are very serious as well, and actually, have an even higher death rate than hepatitis A because they often show no symptoms at all. As the drug epidemic in America continues to grow, so do the cases of hepatitis B, and C. injectable opioids and other substances often lead to addicts sharing needles and spreading the infection from one to another through blood. Since no symptoms are present in most cases, the infected individual continues to spread the disease unknowingly. The rise in individuals choosing not to get vaccinated and the growing drug problem in this country are the leading causes of the return of hepatitis.

What if Hepatitis is Untreated?

Undetected and untreated hepatitis can have dire circumstances. The liver infection can turn into liver cancer over time, and many infected individuals don’t see any symptoms until it reaches that point. Untreated hepatitis is a viral infection that can be spread from one person to another. Even hepatitis A can be spread from one individual to another through fecal to oral acts that are becoming increasingly popular in younger generations. The medical community hopes to educate more individuals about their potential risk of hepatitis A, B, and C so that they can get tested and vaccinated as needed. To return numbers of hepatitis cases as low as they once were, people need to become more aware of the problem and actively trying to stop the spread of the infection.

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