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Is Romaine Lettuce Safe to Eat?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about thee. Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. For weeks it has been unsafe to purchase, eat, or order any romaine lettuce while the FDA worked to narrow down the problem. Through proper inspections and research, they have finally located the problem area, and some romaine lettuce is safe to enjoy!

What is Romaine Safe?

After this major outbreak, the FDA had decided that all romaine will now be labeled to detail what region it comes from and when it was harvested. They determined that the outbreak has been linked to the Central Coast region of California. That means that any romaine on the store shelves that isn’t from the Central Coast region is safe to enjoy! If romaine is not packaged, your grocery store should have the information regarding the region and harvest date posted near the register. If romaine is not labeled and the information is not posted, don’t purchase or consume it.

Preventing Outbreaks Moving Forward

The FDA came up with the new labeling system to avoid growers in safe regions from being forced to throw out perfectly safe produce. Primarily, the winter growing found areas in Arizona, Florida, and Mexico are safe for sale and consumption. Leafy greens are often linked to outbreaks and food poisoning, but the new e. Coli outbreak finally got the attention of the FDA in a significant way. Moving forward, the aim is to implement this labeling process into all leafy greens sold in stores. Then, if an outbreak occurs, it can be quickly narrowed down and controlled. 43 people in 12 states were affected by the recent romaine outbreak and an additional 22 people in Canada. Canada is familiar with the possibilities of illness from leafy greens, stating it as a common occurrence there as well.
FDA officials and farmers are working together to determine why romaine has been involved in so many outbreak incidents in recent years. They’re taking into account environmental factors, physical factors of the plant, and more. Romaine has a shelf life of approximately 21 days which means the infected greens could still be on store shelves or in your home. Even if you have romaine that you have eaten part of without problems, it’s best to dispose of it and repurchase romaine that is clearly labeled to be from a safe region.

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Don’t miss out on sleep!

Did you know that 67% of Americans say they do not get the recommended 8 hours of sleep our bodies require every day. Sleep is becoming something that we overlook in today’s society. Our jobs are asking for more hours, our days are becoming shorter & we are not valuing sleep nearly enough as-we should. Read below to see the effects on sleep deprivation & our bodies.

What is sleep deprivation?

Our bodies require a set amount of hours to recover from the day before. The most important parts of our bodies happen in our sleep such as:

  • Growth
  • Heading
  • Recharge
  • Brain functionality

When our bodies don’t get the correct amount of sleep they need we-will start to get sleep deprivation.

Symptoms & Effects

Sleep deprivation occurs when people do not receive the amount of sleep their bodies need to recharge in a day. If you are not getting the correct amount of sleep then you might experience some symptoms, sleep deprivation starts with very mild symptoms & as you keep denying your body of sleep you will experience more severe experiences. Some mild symptoms may be:

  • Yawning
  • Nodding head
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of concentration
  • a headache

Severe symptoms of sleep deprivation could include:

  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Seeing things
  • hearing things that are not there

When in serious sleep deprivation your mind basically starts to be in REM while you are still awake.

How to avoid sleep deprivation

This may seem obvious but going to sleep at an earlier time would allow your body to get the sleep that it needs! This is not always the easiest method however so it is reasonable if you do not feel you can go to sleep any earlier than you already do. Another way to get more sleep for your body is to start taking naps throughout the day. Naps should be between 15-20 mins in length so the body does not hit REM. If the body hits REM this will cause a cranky sensation while waking up & will have the reverse effect.

We hope these tips will help you sleep better at night!







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What You Should Know About Swimmer’s Ear

swimmerNothing is better than spending a hot summer day swimming around in the pool. It helps cool your body down and you will always climb out of the pool feeling refreshed after a long day at work. It is obvious swimming is one of the most popular activities people participate in during the summer.

Swimming sounds amazing and all, but there is always a catch. While swimming is considered relatively a low-risk activity, the risk is still there. One of the most common health conditions associated with swimming is Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s Ear isn’t usually serious. However, if not being treated properly it might cause some unnecessary complications.

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa) is an infection in the outer ear canal. This infection is often caused by water remaining inside your ear after swimming sessions, which created an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. In addition, scratching or poking the inside of your ears with your fingers can damage the sensitive skin there and cause the infection.

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear

While Swimmer’s Ear is not always serious and shows mild symptoms, improper or late treatment might worsen the symptoms.

Mild symptoms

  • Itchy ear canal
  • Slight red inside ear
  • Some clear fluid
  • Discomfort when pulling the outer ear

Moderate symptoms

  • More itching
  • More pain
  • More redness in ears
  • Excessive fluid or pus
  • Blockage of ear canal by swelling, fluid, and debris

Advanced symptoms

  • Severe pain that might spread to the sides of your head
  • Fever
  • Complete blockage of ear canal
  • Reduced hearing ability


Swimmer’s Ear is usually not a dangerous condition and could be easily treated with proper care. Depending on your case, your doctor might prescribe different types of treatments. First, they may clean the ear carefully to relieve irritation and pain. After that, antibiotic ear drops might be used to treat the problem. Some additional medications taken orally might be needed and prescribed by the doctor.

If you are experiencing Swimmer’s Ear, visit our FirstCall Urgent Care facilities today for testing and treatments.

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

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3 Natural Remedies To Help You Fight Off Allergies

BeeIt’s August, which means the Fall Allergy season is coming around the corner. Allergy is one of the most annoying things in the world, we get it. While allergy is not curable, you can take control and treat your symptoms. It is also noteworthy that preventing yourself from being exposed to your allergens is always better than spending efforts dealing the outbreak. If you do, unfortunately, get caught up in this nightmare, here are 3 simple remedies you can take to ease the symptoms and speed up the recovery:

Neti Pot

Always being brought up in any allergy remedy discussion nowadays, Neti Pot has grown very popular. Although this tradition has been practiced in Asia from long ago, it has only become mainstream to Western medicine in recent years. Neti Pot can clear your nasal passages and get rid of allergens and irritants, which will reduce the duration of symptoms. Keep in mind that, since the water will irrigate throughout your sinus, make sure that it is distilled and sterilized as much as possible.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a godsend to modern medicine. It is a widely used natural remedy and effective in treating health conditions including allergies.  It consists of various of compounds, such as acetic acid, vitamin A, vitamin Cc and many others, that help fight off allergy symptoms. To benefit from this natural medicine, you can simply take 1 to 2 teaspoons a day. If the sour taste of it is too much to handle, you can mix it with lemon juice, honey or water to get a more enjoyable taste.

Local honey

Using bee honey as a supplement for medication has been around for way too long, dating back to the ancient years. There is a reason that this remedy has always been popular, and it’s because honey certainly works. Taking a tablespoon of honey from your local farm daily could help you build up a tolerance towards the local allergens that like to mess with your sinus. It also goes down very easy compared to Apple Cider Vinegar. What’s the catch? There is none!


If you are suspecting or suffering from some allergy symptoms, visit our FirstCall Urgent Care facilities today for testing and treatments.


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

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How To Prevent Sports Injuries


sports injury treatment in Laurel, MD

While your young one is still growing at a fast rate, they are at a higher risk of becoming injured, possibly leading to long term health problems, if they are physically active in sports.  

If your child is active in sports, here are a few tips to consider in order to prevent injury.

Get a Sports Physical

If your child participates in a sport, it is beneficial to have a physical examination prior to the start of the season to check for any predispositions, underlying issues or risk factors that may cause harm or long-term damage. Awareness of sport injuries can reduce injury in athletes and promote emotional wellness.

Nutrition and Wellness

Proper diet and nutrition is required to excel in performance, recover and grow strong. Poor nutrition can lead to a decrease in bone density, thus increasing the risk for overuse injuries and stress fractures. Try to ensure that your student-athlete is eating at least three meals a day, consisting of fruits, vegetables and lean meat.

Invest in Proper Equipment

Every sport has different equipment to protect athletes from injury.  Make sure that your student athlete’s equipment and clothing if well-fitted and appropriate for their desired sport.

Don’t Overdo It

Have a maximum number of sports or teams your child can join each season. Playing two different sports that are physically demanding. During year-round sports, it is crucial to take well-deserved breaks. Although most athletes may experience a sports-related injury at some point, further injury or overuse can be prevented by taking the right precautions.

If your student athlete gets injured on the field or court, visit FirstCall Urgent Care for treatment.  We 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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“Put Your Best Fork Forward”


Finding it difficult to keep up with your New Year’s resolution of having a healthy, well-balanced diet?

It’s not too late to start developing healthy eating habits.

March is also known as National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of making informed food choices and developing physical activity habits.

With this month, don’t be afraid to start your New Year’s resolutions with keeping these tips in mind.

  1. Eat smarter: Start eating a healthier diet by cutting out fast food and start eating healthier meals that are easy to prepare at home that include high sources of protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
  2. Be mindful of what you’re eating: Along with switching up your diet, become more mindful of what you’re eating, when you’re eating, why you’re eating, and how much you’re eating.  Mindful eating is conscious approach to making better eating choices.
  3. Drink water: Increase your daily water intake in accordance to your weight, and increasing your intake of natural water from fruit and vegetables will balance out your body’s needs for water.
  4. Sweat it out!: No healthy lifestyle is complete without exercise and a daily form of exercise is essential to overall health.  Sign up for a gym membership, or find alternative forms of exercise such as yoga, boxing, or spin classes.
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Feeling Sick & Tired?

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When you don’t take proper care of yourself, your body tends to show for it when you get sick.  You’ll probably end up with a runny nose, high fever, consistent cough, and you’ll more than likely feel tired.

When you feel tired while you’re sick, that’s a sure sign that your body is telling you to lay down and catch some Zzzs.  But some don’t know how to take a sick day.  Without resorting to hibernation for the in the colder months, your body may need a few days away from the office to recover from a cold.

Here are a few reasons why you should take a rest day when you’re coming down with a cold.

  • Your body actually needs rest – The average adults needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night in order to properly function throughout the day.
  • Helps fight infection – Studies have shown that those who get proper sleep are able to fight off infections than those who are sleep deprived.
  • Boosts your energy levels –  The same way you wake up feeling refreshed from a good night’s rest is the way your body feels refreshed when you get enough sleep while you’re sick.

The next time your body comes down with a cold, actually listen to it and utilize your sick time.

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Sexually Active? You Should Probably Get Tested.

Get Test For STDs in Laurel MD

Most think they would know if they have an STD, but the only sure way to know if you have an infection is to get tested.  Most STDs symptoms are mild and can go completely unnoticed.  If left untreated, they can lead to further health complications down the line.

Generally, you should get tested at least once a year, or at least every few months if you have high-risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners.

If you are experiencing symptoms that you think could be an STD, you should seek medical guidance.  Some symptoms of STDs include:

  • Painful urination
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge in women
  • Pain during sexual intercourse in women
  • Bleeding between periods in women
  • Discharge from the penis in men
  • Testicular pain in men

At FirstCall Urgent Care, we can test for a wide variety of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Our physicians will go over your results and provide you with any medical information and treatment if necessary.

Some of our testing services include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • HPV

If you test positive for an STD or STI, it’s also important to notify your partner and advise them to get tested, as well.

If you would like to utilize our STD testing services, or would like more information about sexually transmitted diseases and infections, please call us at 410-730-3399.

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Could Your Sore Throat Be Strep Throat?


You have a sore throat, cough, runny nose, and your body may feel sore.  Do you have the common cold, or could you possibly have the flu?  Sometimes it can be tough to tell.

Some symptoms of viral infections are treatable with over the counter medicine and home remedies, but when your persistent cough lingers for weeks at a time, this could be a sign of another medical condition, such as strep throat.

Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection in the throat area.  Group A Streptocccusbacteria (group A strep) is the main cause of strep throat.  The bacteria can live in a person’s nose or throat without causing any illness, but by breathing, coughing, or sneezing, an infected person releases droplets of the bacteria into the air and on surfaces.  Touching a contaminated area or being in close contact with someone who has strep throat can spread the virus.

The throat becomes irritated and inflamed, which can cause a severe throat.  While strep throat is more common amongst children and teens, anyone who interacts with someone who has strep throat is highly susceptible to catching it.  The common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore/dry throat
  • Swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
  • Hoarseness or loss of voice
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach or loss of appetite
  • High fever (over 101° F)
  • White or yellow spots on the back of a bright red throat

If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms for longer than 48 hours, it’s best to seek medical attention.  Strep throat is easily treatable with antibiotics and bed rest.

At FirstCall Urgent Care, we can treat your symptoms, provide you with antibiotics, and offer medical information about treatment and prevention to keep you and your family members safe from getting strep throat.

For more information on the services we provide, please call to speak with one of our medical professionals at 410-730-3399.

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Prevent Getting the Flu

Avoid getting sick this flu seasonNow that flu season is in full swing, it’s important to make sure you protect yourself against the flu.  Getting the flu can leave you out of work or school for weeks at a time.  It can also be potentially harmful if you have health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or a weakened immune system.

Getting your annual flu shot is the first preventative measure against the flu, but here are a few other ways you can protect yourself this flu season.

  1. Any time you use the bathroom, before and after you eat, and after shaking hands with someone, you should wash your hands. It’s also best to avoid touching areas of your face such as your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  2. Sanitize hard surfaces such as kitchen counter-tops, doorknobs, and handles, as well as objects such as TV remotes, phones, and laptops. Also, make sure to disinfect children’s toys between playtime, as little ones are highly susceptible to getting sick.
  3. Avoid sharing eating utensils and drinks with others. Also, make sure everyone in your house has their own towels, wash clothes, and bedding such as pillows and blankets.
  4. Change your toothbrush once you get well, as toothbrushes are a breeding ground for germs, so make sure you get a new one to avoid getting sick again.
  5. Practice healthy habits such as drinking plenty of water, maintaining a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, and incorporating exercise into your routine.

For diagnosis and treatment for the flu, visit us at FirstCall Urgent Care.  We provide treatment on a walk-in basis.  Visit us today or call us for more information at 410-730-3399.

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