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All Posts Tagged: urgent care

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Diagnostic & Antibody Testing

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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Why is My Bronchitis Getting Worse

Bronchitis is a type of illness that occurs when your bronchial tubes become inflamed and irritated. Your bronchial tubes are responsible for moving air in and out of your lungs, so it’s needless to say they’re very important. Bronchitis causes painful coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other uncomfortable symptoms for those suffering. If you have bronchitis that’s continuing to get worse instead of better, don’t give up hope just yet! 

If you need Bronchitis care, please contact Centennial Medical Group right away for treatment options that are available.

Bronchitis Causes

Bronchitis is most commonly caused by an upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold. The virus causing the cold travels through your body, and in some cases, inflames, and irritates the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis can also be caused by environmental irritants, although this is less common. 

Acute vs Chronic

There are two different types of bronchitis and understanding the difference is very important. 

  • Acute – acute bronchitis is the type that’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection in your body. Acute bronchitis typically lasts 1 to 2 weeks, but a lingering cough may last up to 90 days. 
  • Chronic – chronic bronchitis is most often caused by irritants, such as smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke. To be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis you have to have bronchitis for at least 3 consecutive months for two consecutive years. 

What’s Making it Worse?

When bronchitis continues to get worse instead of better, it’s frustrating for the patient. There are a few things that could be making your bronchitis worse. If you have acute bronchitis that’s getting worse, you could have an infection that requires antibiotics. Most cases of bronchitis clear up on their own, but not all of them. if you have any underlying health conditions, you’re at a higher risk to have bronchitis that can’t go away on it’s own. For chronic bronchitis sufferers, your symptoms will continue tog et worse if you’re exposed to the irritants that caused the bronchitis in the first place or if you’re suffering from COPD. 

Treating Bronchitis

Bronchitis is treated on a case-by-case basis because everyone is different. If you’re suffering from acute bronchitis, you can stay home to see if symptoms improve. You need to seek immediate medical care if you have trouble catching your breath or the coughing gets so severe it keeps you up at night. 

Get treated for your bronchitis at a nearby urgent care center for convenient, affordable, same-day care! 

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Where in the US is Coronavirus a Potential Risk

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has shaken people across the world. After originating in Wuhan, China, the virus has rapidly spread around the globe. International travelers carried COVID-19 to their home countries, despite airport screenings and travel restrictions. Now that the virus is in America people are wondering, what states are at risk? 

If you’re looking for more resources please consult the CDC for information about COVID-19 prevention, news updates, and how to stay safe during this time.

Where has COVID-10 Spread?

Coronavirus has been confirmed in 46 states and the Dominican Republic. The first cases were linked directly to international travels, but now person to person cases have begun to pop up. Some COVID-19 cases have even been diagnosed when there is no known contact with another infected individual, which makes this virus truly a widespread threat. The coronavirus is here and in almost every state, so it’s safe to say that everyone is at a potential risk. 

Who’s at the Highest Risk?

Certain people are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and suffering more severe symptoms. The groups at the highest risk include: 

  • Elderly 
  • Immunocompromised people 
  • People suffering from underlying medical conditions – diabetes, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, etc. 

Anybody can catch the coronavirus, even if they aren’t considered high risk. Young, healthy people may carry the virus without knowing and spread it to people in at-risk groups. 

What You Can Do

Since the coronavirus is spreading across the nation, what can you do? At this point the biggest focus is on slowing the spread of the virus so our healthcare system is able to keep up and offer treatment to those who need it. You can help prevent the spread by: 

  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze 
  • Practice social distancing – avoid close contact with others, especially in large groups
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly 
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • If there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Remain calm – creating mass panic leads more people to hoard food, supplies, and medication they may not need. We’re equipped to handle the virus, but only if everyone remains calm. 

If you believe you have coronavirus, do not go to the ER or urgent care. Test kits aren’t readily available and visiting the ER or urgent care just exposes other patients and healthcare workers to the possibility of the virus.

Stay home, call your primary care provider or health department, and avoid contact with people until you’ve been advised otherwise. Seek medical attention if you have difficulty breathing or a high fever that won’t break with over the counter medications. 

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How Did I Get Strep Throat?

Having a sore throat is something that’s painful, annoying, and can even get in the way of your daily routine. There’s a difference between your average sore throat and a sore throat caused by strep throat. If you’re suffering from or have suffered from strep throat, you’re probably wondering how you got it in the first place! 

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes sudden onset throat pain and soreness. Strep throat can make it difficult to swallow and bring visible red or white patches to the back of your throat and tonsils. Many patients also report a fever, body aches, and tender lymph nodes. 

Causes

Strep throat is most common in school age children, but it can be spread to anyone. Strep throat is caused by a highly contagious bacteria that thrives in places that have many people in close proximity. The bacteria can be spread through the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes, from surfaces, or through direct contact from one person to another. 

Prevention

There is no vaccine or surefire way to prevent strep throat, but knowledge is key! The best way to help prevent the spread of strep throat is to remain vigilant, especially during the winter and spring time when it’s more common. Good hand hygiene is very important too since you can catch strep throat simply by touching a surface that an infected person has touched. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes when you’re out in public spaces. You should wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice over and dry them with clean paper towels or a blow dryer.

If you don’t have access to wash your hands throughout the day, hand sanitizer is a great tool to use!  Remind those around you to always cough and sneeze into the corner of their arm, not the palms of their hands. People suffering from strep throat should stay home from work or school until cleared by their physician after they begin antibiotics. 

If you believe you’re suffering from strep throat, it’s important to get treatment right away. Visit your local urgent care center for care that’s affordable, close to home, and available on a schedule that works for you! Strep throat requires medical attention to heal. Home remedies might relieve certain symptoms, but the infection won’t be cleared without prescription antibiotics.

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How Does a Patient Get an Ear Infection?

Ear infections are a painful and irritating condition that affects both children and adults. The number of ear infections typically increases during the winter and early spring, along with the common cold, flu, strep throat, and more. It isn’t always possible to avoid an ear infection, but it’s still important to know what causes them and what your treatment options are! 

Causes of an Ear Infection

Ear infections occur when a bacterial or viral infection reaches your middle ear. In most cases, an ear infection happens during or after someone is battling another bacterial or viral illness. As the illness spreads, it can reach the middle ear and then stay there, causing an ear infection. The best way to avoid an ear infection is to avoid illnesses like the common cold and flu, but as we all know, sometimes even the best preventative measures aren’t enough to keep those things at bay! 

Ear Infection Symptoms

The symptoms of an ear infection in children are more severe than the symptoms of an ear infection in adults. Common symptoms in children include: 

  • Pulling on ears
  • Ear pain that gets worse when the child is laying down
  • General fussiness and discomfort
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Lack of interest in food that may be caused by nausea 

Adults have much more mild symptoms with an ear infection, although they’re still very uncomfortable. Adults most often report ear drainage, pain in the ear, and a headache. 

Treatment Options

Rather you or your child is suffering from an ear infection, getting treatment promptly is important. Many ear infections require antibiotics and ear drops to help clear the infection. If you notice symptoms of an ear infection for more than a day, you have visible ear drainage, or severe pain, you should visit a doctor right away. The best place to go for same-day treatment of an ear infection is a nearby urgent care center. The experienced urgent care staff will be able to evaluate your symptoms, diagnose you, and provide a treatment plan to clear the infection all in one visit. In addition to urgent care treatment and antibiotics, you can use over the counter pain relievers and plenty of hydration to encourage your body to heal. 

Leaving an ear infection untreated could lead to some potentially serious side effects, so it’s always best to go get a professional opinion if you think there’s even a chance you’re suffering from one! 

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Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Mountains of snow covering sidewalks and driveways force many people out of their homes each winter. For a lot of those people, they’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle until the snow can’t be ignored anymore. Then, it’s time to pick up a shovel. Shoveling snow is a strenuous and tiring activity, but did you know it comes with some serious health risks too? 

Snow Shoveling Risks 

Snow shoveling poses multiple risks. First, there’s a risk of injury. Injury can occur while shoveling snow due to falling, improper lifting technique, overexertion, and more. The most common snow shoveling related injuries include muscle strains, back injury, head injury, and bone fractures. In addition to those acute injuries, shoveling snow causes a high number of heart attacks each year. Those suffering from a chronic health condition or with a history of heart disease are at a higher risk for heart attack. 

Safety Tips 

Stay safe while shoveling by following these tips!

  • Don’t shovel immediately after consuming caffeine or nicotine – this increases your risk of heart attack when combined with colder temperatures. 
  • Don’t overexert yourself – stop shoveling when you’re tired
  • Take your time
  • Stretch before shoveling
  • Remember to push snow with the shovel, don’t lift it 
  • Spread rock salt or kitty litter to provide traction while you shovel 
  • Don’t shovel at all if you have a history of heart disease. Your risk is too high – ask for health from a friend or neighbor. 
  • Know the signs of a heart attack – common signs of heart attack include chest pressure or tightness, shortness of breath, pain in the left arm or shoulder, sweating, and more. 

If an injury does occur, visit your local urgent care center right away for treatment. If you suffer a hard fall and are unsure if you’re injured or not, it’s always best to go get checked out! If you believe you may be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. 

How Can Urgent Care Help? 

When you’re suffering from a chronic health condition that could lead to a heart attack, getting regular medical care is important. Visit your local urgent care to address any preventative care needs you may have and to assess your current health status. If you suffer an injury or illness that is non-life-threatening, urgent care can help! Don’t forget to bring a list of all current medications and inform our urgent care staff of your entire medical history so we’re able to treat you in the best way possible. 

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Public Health Tips for Managing Flu Season

Flu season begins each year around October and although it happens every year, many people still aren’t sure what they can do to avoid getting or spreading the flu. The CDC provides some useful tips to the public each flu season as a reminder that the flu can be managed and, in many cases, avoided all together! Check out some of those tips below. 

The Importance of Your Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot during flu season reduces your risk of getting the flu by over 80%. The flu shot has little to no side effects other than injection site redness, it’s covered in full by most major insurance companies, and you can get it with just a quick trip to your local urgent care center or walk in clinic. Experts recommend getting your flu shot at the beginning of flu season, but you can get it late in the season and still enjoy the benefits of a lower risk of getting the flu. 

Keep Clean Hands

The flu is highly contagious which makes hand washing during flu season more important than ever! Wash your hands regularly throughout the day and encourage friends and family members to do the same. Proper hand washing should include these steps: 

  • Wet your hands with warm or cold water
  • Lather soap 
  • Continue to lather your hands, including between the fingers and the back of your hands, for at least 20 seconds. Keep track of the time by humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice. 
  • Dry your hands using paper towels or an air dryer. Wet hands pickup and spread germs more easily than dry hands. 

Prevent the Illness from Spreading

If you do become ill, the CDC recommends minimizing your exposure to other people. That means calling off of work or school until you’re no longer contagious. It might be annoying to put your life on hold but keeping your illness away from others is the best way to prevent it from spreading. You should avoid close contact with anyone during this time of year too. Avoid handshakes and hugs by simply telling people you’re trying to avoid the flu this winter! 

If you’re in need of treatment for the flu, visit your local urgent care center. An urgent care can also administer flu shots to lower your risk of getting the flu. Even though peak flu season has passed, it isn’t too late to get vaccinated!

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Why Are My Sore Throat Symptoms Acting Up?

We’ve all experienced pharyngitis, more commonly known as a sore throat: a painful, itchy, or even burning sensation at the back of our mouths. A sore throat can make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, breathe, and eat. More often than not, a sore throat is a symptom of an underlying illness which can range from anything as innocuous as the common cold to something as serious as HIV or cancer. Because there is such a wide variety of illnesses a sore throat can point to, it’s important to see a medical professional when you experience this symptom. You can get treatment right way, or at least rule out serious illnesses and get peace of mind. 

What is a sore throat?

A sore throat is any pain, discomfort, or swelling in the throat. The pain may be present all the time, or only noticeable when swallowing or speaking. There may be visible signs of a sore throat as well, such as swollen glands in the neck and/or jaw, white patches or spots on your tonsils, or red and swollen tonsils. Sore throats may be accompanied by other symptoms of illness, such as headaches, body aches, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, or fever. 

What causes a sore throat?

A sore throat can be caused by a virus or bacteria, and it’s important to distinguish between the two so you can pursue the best course of treatment. A sore throat is a common symptom of a multitude of illnesses ranging in severity. An allergic reaction to food, animals, pollen, mold, and more can cause throat irritation. Dry weather, dehydration, and muscle strain from yelling or talking too much could be the cause of your throat pain. A sore throat can also be symptomatic of the flu, HIV, cancer, and more. Because your sore throat could have so many underlying causes, some of them quite serious, it’s important to seek professional help to determine why you are experiencing throat pain.

How to Manage Your Sore Throat at Home

If you are looking for a quick fix for your sore throat or a diagnosis for why it hurts, you should visit your local urgent care. The doctors there can quickly help you get to the bottom if your illness and help you treat it. In the meantime, if you are looking to manage your painful symptoms at home, there are a few remedies you can try. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water and other healthy fluids, such as juice, smoothies, broth, and tea.

You can try frozen or hot liquids like popsicles or soup to soothe your throat as well. Warm water with lemon and honey can ease throat pain. Gargling saltwater, hydrating the air with a humidifier, and avoiding smoke and other irritants can also help. If your sore throat doesn’t improve, go to your local urgent care for diagnosis and treatment.

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How You Can Feel Safe Getting STD Tests

Frequent, regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections is an important part of health maintenance for any sexually active adult. No matter what your sexual history is or how long you’ve been with your current partner(s), ongoing STD testing from a medical professional is the best way to get the knowledge you need to protect yourself.

You Don’t Have to Do It on Your Own

There are many ways you can get tested for STDs, including from the comfort of your own home. There are plenty of testing kits on the market that allow you to send in a sample of your blood or urine to a laboratory, which will then analyze your sample and report your results to you. This may sound like an easy and convenient option, but it requires you to take the sample yourself and wait for what may be weeks while the lab processes and returns your results. Also, the sample may be inconclusive, and you will need to send another one for testing.

Getting tested at a doctor’s office ensures safe, clean, and easy testing. However, you will need to make a doctor’s appointment and ask for an STD test. Many people assume that STD testing is included when you get a physical, a gynecological exam, or any sort of urine or blood work done. This is usually not the case; you need to request STD testing from your doctor, even if you have given a sample of your blood or urine. 

Part of testing includes being asked basic questions about your sexual history, and testing is always judgment-free. There are different ways to test for different STDs, including urine, saliva, or blood samples, or a physical exam. Talk to your doctor about different methods and decide what is best for you. You will not be forced into any exams or providing any samples you’re not comfortable with. 

Why You Should Get Tested

STD rates are on the rise in the US, partially because people aren’t getting tested regularly. Many STDs have mild to no symptoms, so you can have (and spread) an STD without realizing it. STDs are caused by viruses and bacteria, so you need a medical professional to test you. You can’t accurately diagnose yourself with a sexually transmitted infection. Medical testing is safe, clean, and can help you prevent, treat, and manage STDs. 

Easy, Quick, and Affordable Testing

A fast, safe, and simple way to get an STD test, often with same-day results, is to go to your local urgent care. You can just walk in without an appointment and get peace of mind right away. Whether or not you have health insurance, urgent care will work with you for affordable testing options. Don’t wait until you have symptoms or a new sexual partner; check out your local urgent care or primary care center and get tested today!

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Common Cold Treatment During Fall & Winter

Winter means extra family time, holidays, and beautiful snow falling, but it also means an increased chance of illness from the common cold. The cold affects each patient roughly 2-3 times each year, so it’s important to be prepared. Rather you’re taking care of yourself or a loved one, utilize these tips to treat the common cold the best way possible. 

What is a Common Cold?

The common cold is a virus that spreads quickly and easily from one person to the next. The virus attacks your immune system causing many unpleasant symptoms including: 

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue 
  • Cough
  • Sore throat 

There is no vaccine to prevent the common cold, but hand washing and good hygiene are able to reduce your risk. Cold symptoms typically last 3-5 days. 

How Can I Treat it at Home?

You can treat most of your cold symptoms right from the comfort of your own home! First, remember the importance of hydration. Even if you don’t feel like eating much, be sure to drink plenty of water and enjoy clear liquids like chicken broth. Try to get as much rest as possible. It can be annoying to take time away from your life to rest, but it will ultimately help you heal quicker.

You can manage your other cold symptoms with 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. 

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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