IT'S FLU SEASON! Visit us for your Flu Vaccination, Rapid Flu Testing, and PCR Testing
Check with your carrier for coverage

Blog Posts

cold

Spring Seasonal Allergies Coming to Bloom

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2015

emedPollenIt’s that time of year again that allergy sufferers dread: allergy season. Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever, so if you take the proper steps to reduce your exposure, you can stay comfortable and still enjoy the outdoors with your family this spring.

Allergies

Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis) are caused by an overactive immune system. Your body mistakes harmless substances (such as pollen) for bacteria and attacks it (like it attacks a germ), releasing histamine, the same chemical that is released when you are fighting a cold. Histamine causes swelling in your nasal passage, often accompanied by a running nose, coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and in some cases, asthma.

Knowing the Difference from a Cold

Telling the difference between a cold and allergies can sometimes be difficult. Colds are caused by hundreds of different viruses. Your immune system goes on attack, responding with classic symptoms such as congestion and coughing. Colds are contagious (allergies are not). Colds are usually accompanied by a fever and typically only last up to 14 days; if symptoms drag on longer, it may be an allergic reaction. Not sure if your symptoms are from the common cold or seasonal allergies? Come see us! We’ll work with you to determine the best treatment for your symptoms.

Stay Comfortable

Reducing your exposure to allergic triggers is the No. 1 way to lessen the symptoms. With a few minor lifestyle changes, you can keep your symptoms under control. Below are some tips to help you stay comfortable:
  • Head outside at the right time. Peak pollen production can occur in the early morning, so plan activities for alternate times of the day. Ragweed pollen counts are at their highest from mid-August until the first frost.
  • Avoid using a window fan to cool rooms because they can pull pollen inside. Keep windows closed in the car, using the air conditioner instead.
  • Delegate yard work. Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and gardening can stir up allergens.
  • Stay indoors on windy and dry days. And enjoy the outdoors after a good rain when the pollen is cleared from the air.
  • Shower up and change your clothes. Wash the pollen down the drain that may be stuck to your hair or clothing from being outside.
  • Plant wisely. If you have the opportunity to plant trees on your property, choose species such as catalpa, dogwood, fir, redwood and crepe, which don’t aggravate allergies.

Allergy Forecast

Predicting pollen is like predicting the weather; there’s a lot of variability, and you can have sudden changes. Visit Pollen.com to stay up to date on the pollen count in your area. Even though allergy medications (antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops) are available without a prescription, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor first to make sure you choose the right one. If your seasonal allergy symptoms become unbearable, even with over-the-counter antihistamines, stop in to eMedical for an evaluation of your symptoms.

Share    

Is Your Child Suffering from the Common Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

Posted on Wed, Sep 24, 2014

By iTriage Are you one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies? According to allergies-childrenCathie-Ann Lippman, MD, from Los Angeles, Calif., people who are genetically predisposed to inhalant allergies suffer the most during the spring months when most plants are growing and blooming and the volume of allergenic particles (pollens) is at its maximum. So, what plants should you look out for? Dr. Lippman noted that trees, grasses, weeds and flowers can all cause allergic symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and a frequent complaint in urgent care offices. Common medical conditions resulting from seasonal allergies include hay fever, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, hives and dermatitis (eczema). As a parent how can you tell if your child is dealing with the common cold or seasonal allergies? Dr. Lippman noted, “It may be very difficult to differentiate between a cold and allergies.” A doctor at your local urgent care office should be able to help you determine which you are suffering from. Some of the differences include:

  • A cold should last no longer than two weeks, while allergies can last for months.
  • Colds more commonly occur in the winter, while allergies can occur any time of the year.
  • One symptom of a cold may be fever and with allergies no fever is present.
  • Colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
Pollen Counts You may have seen the daily pollen count report on the news or even have had a notification from a weather app appear on your phone, but what exactly do these pollen counts mean? According to Dr. Lippman, “The pollen count measures the number of allergenic pollen particles in the air in gram per cubic meter.” The website, Pollen.com notes that, “Pollen counts are measured from low, meaning they affect few individuals, to high, meaning symptoms affect most allergy sufferers.” By checking the pollen counts in your area, allergy sufferers can see if there are any special environmental factors that may make their allergies worse. Adulthood Allergies Did you know that you can develop allergies into your adulthood? Dr. Lippman asserted, “This can happen especially if a person has a mild genetic propensity to allergies and their immune system becomes depleted, making them more vulnerable to manifesting the allergies.” It may seem like more and more people are developing allergies. Dr. Lippman noted that this increase may be caused by a number of different things, including:
  • The environment becoming more toxic
  • People not being as healthy in general due to lack of nourishment
  • Many people’s immune systems becoming depleted due to medications
While allergies cannot generally be prevented, the CDC suggests avoiding contact with the certain allergens that may be causing you problems. If your seasonal allergies leave you feeling miserable, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) suggests setting up an appointment with an allergist/immunologist. “An allergist will have the background and experience to determine which allergies, if any, are causing your symptoms,” notes AAAI. AAAI also suggests following some of these precautionary tips to alleviate symptoms:
  • Keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high.
  • When traveling by car, keep your windows closed.
  • Take any medications as prescribed.
If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care offices are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

Share    

Sore Throat Season: Is it Strep? Do I Need Antibiotics?

Posted on Thu, Nov 03, 2011

By eMedical Urgent Care You’ve tried to ignore it, but every swallow is a chore. You’ve got that big project at work, so there’s no time to be sick. How do you know when a sore throat requires medical attention – or just some hot tea and some R&R? Sore throat, also known as pharyngitis or tonsillitis, is a frequent complaint that brings patients to the urgent care center. I’m going to explain the causes and symptoms of sore throats. To treat them, urgent care centers are a convenient option to get the medical attention you need to get you back to feeling better. Causes of Sore Throats Up to 60 percent of sore throats are caused by viruses. The most common of these are adenoviruses, coxsackieviruses, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegaloviruses and herpes simplex viruses. The second-most popular type is “strep” throat, which is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS). Only 5 to 15 percent of adults and 15 to 30 percent of children with sore throats actually have strep throat. Other less frequent causes of a sore throat are fungal infections (oral thrush or candidiasis), HIV-1 infection in the acute phase and gonorrhea. Non-infectious causes of sore throat include heartburn or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), allergies, post-nasal drip, chemical injuries and smoking. Symptoms of Strep Throat Strep throat most commonly occurs in children aged 5 to 15 years old in the fall and early spring. This usually happens after children come in contract with someone who is infected, like in a classroom or daycare facility, or a family gathering. Classic symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sudden onset
  • White patches and pus on the throat and tonsils
  • A fever greater than 101˚
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes in neck
  • Headache
  • Chills and shakes alternating with cold sweats
In children, the above symptoms can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. Symptoms of a Virus Signs that the sore throat is caused by a virus include:
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Sneezing
Testing and Treatment of Sore Throats Doctors use several methods to determine if a sore throat is in fact strep throat. One of the most reliable methods is the rapid strep test. This test is quick and accurate, and allows treatment to start immediately following a positive result. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors perform both a traditional throat culture and a rapid strep test on children. Although it takes 1 to 2 days to get results from a throat culture, because children are more likely to develop strep throat, this dual-testing method provides the most accurate diagnosis. While only a fraction of adults and children with sore throats nationwide actually have GABHS bacterial infections, more than 75 percent are prescribed antibiotics. This practice leads to resistant bacteria, meaning the infection doesn’t improve because it’s gotten used to antibiotics, as well as side effects from treatment, including allergic reactions, diarrhea and yeast infections. Our doctors use rapid strep testing and throat cultures, and follow guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of GABHS set by the Infectious Disease Society of America. Strep throat responds well to penicillin. It can be given as a single dose injection or in pill form. Other prescription options include amoxicillin, cephalexin and azithromycin. To help relieve the pain and swelling of the throat, your doctor also may prescribe a single dose of dexamethasone, a steroid which is an anti-inflammatory, either by injection or by mouth. Strep Throat Shouldn’t Be Ignored GABHS pharyngitis will improve in a few days even if not treated with antibiotics, but we treat patients so that they feel better faster and are less contagious to others. If left untreated, strep throat can put you at risk for developing rheumatic fever, which can damage the heart valves. Another rare but serious complication is acute glomerulonephritis, an injury to the kidney, which can occur regardless of treatment. If you are on antibiotics and aren’t feeling better or if you’ve developed a rash, jaundice or abdominal pain, contact your doctor immediately, as this might indicate Epstein Barr virus or mononucleosis infection. In most cases, with proper evaluation and treatment, sore throats can be treated quickly and easily, often without antibiotics. If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care is open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

Share