FastMed Blog

Foodborne Pathogens and the Illnesses They Cause

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Foodborne Pathogens and the Illnesses They Cause

Foodborne illnesses are one of the most common public health issues. They’re also one of the most preventable. Every year, one in six Americans becomes ill by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. The source of contamination are disease-causing microbes known as pathogens. Let’s look at four of the most common foodborne illnesses (there are more than 250!), along with their symptoms, their gestation period, and how long you can expect to experience symptoms.

Novoviruses

These viruses are highly contagious and can be communicated via anyone who is infected or even by touching a contaminated surface. It can also be transmitted through contaminated water or foods like raw produce or shellfish. Your stomach, intestines, or both become inflamed, leading to cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fever, headache, and vomiting. This can be especially serious for young children and older adults. Novovirus symptoms take a 12 to 48 hours to present, and have usually run their course within 12 to 60 hours.

E. coli

Escherichia coli bacteria, better-known as E. coli, are usually harmless. We have them in our intestinal tracts to keep us healthy. But some E. coli are pathogenic, and these are the bacteria that cause illness when they’re outside of the intestinal tract. E. coli can be transmitted can be transmitted through contaminated water or foods (like undercooked beef or unpasteurized dairy) or through contact with people or animals. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. E. coli takes up to 10 days to incubate and can last from five to 10 days, although you’ll probably feel better within six to eight days.

Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria cause an infection called Salmonellosis. These bacteria can be transmitted via raw poultry, eggs, unpasteurized dairy, and some raw produce. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever that begin to present 12 to 72 hours after exposure. The bug usually lasts for four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. In serious cases, however, diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and may require hospitalization.

Campylobacter

Campylobacteriosis is caused by Campylobacter bacteria that is transmitted through raw or undercooked poultry or unpasteurized milk. It causes fever, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea which may be bloody. Symptoms begin two to five days after exposure, and the illness typically lasts for about a week.

Call or visit your local FastMed Urgent Care at the first sign of any foodborne illness symptoms. Our staff is always ready to help you get on the speediest road to recovery. We’re open 365 days a year, 7 days a week!

Reducing Stress and Relieving Chest Pains or Tightness

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Reducing Stress and Relieving Chest Pains or Tightness

Stress is one of the most common health complaints in our society. We’re all under an incredible amount of pressure every day, and sometimes it doesn’t let up for weeks on end. Stress can induce headaches among other complications, like anxiety. Anxiety is a byproduct of stress that can cause chest pain or tightness. We’re going to look at what exactly stress is to help you recognize where your stress may be coming from, along with several methods you can use to respond healthily, minimizing how it affects your life.

What Stress Is

Believe it or not, some stress is actually beneficial. Stress is simply how our bodies react to real or perceived threats. We produce a chemical reaction popularly known as “fight-or-flight” that prepares our bodies to protect ourselves. When you encounter a threat, your heart rate and breathing increase, your blood pressure rises, and your muscles tighten. You’re ready to face danger or run from it.

All of this is perfectly natural. When your stress response is working properly, you’re alert, focused, and energized. This is how you react quickly in actual, life-threatening situations, like when you need to hit the brakes to avoid a collision. Our bodies are able to handle stress in brief bursts, but long-term or chronic stress can affect us very negatively. Stress can impact our emotional outlook and how we behave, as well as our ability to think and process information. Ongoing stress can produce or exacerbate a variety of serious physical and mental health problems including anxiety, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, gastrointestinal issues, and skin and hair problems.

Anxiety and Chest Pains or Tightness

If you experience chest pain that you believe to be serious, don’t second guess yourself! It is always better to be safe than sorry. Actual heart attacks begin subtly, with mild pain, so don’t try to wait it out. Call 911 immediately for emergency medical help or have someone take you to the nearest hospital.

While chronic stress can bring on real cardiovascular issues, anxiety symptoms are often mistaken for more serious heart problems. Anxiety can make your chest tighten, causing you to experience a sharp stab or a dull ache. Chest pain or tightness can also cause a burning sensation, a crushing sensation, pain traveling up your neck, pain jabbing through to your back, or pain pulsing down either or both of your arms. With symptoms like these it is easy to understand how easily chest pain can be mistaken for a heart attack!

Coping with Stress

Learn to appreciate your support network. Your family and friends can be a great source of strength in your life and can help offset anxiety. If you feel lonely and isolated, you’re considerably more vulnerable to stress. Have confidence in yourself and believe that you are capable of change. Recognize that you can persevere and navigate the challenges that are causing you stress. Try to maintain an optimistic outlook. This may sound difficult, but you can accept that stress is a fact of life and face challenges with a sense of humor. Try to balance your emotions. The more resilient you are in the face of adversity, the less likely it is that you will be overwhelmed. Do your best to understand stressful situations objectively. When you know how long your stressors will last and what to expect, it will be easier for you to cope. Remember that stress is an inevitable part of life; the most important thing is how you choose to deal with it. Start by recognizing the symptoms of your own stress, and learn how to process them to avoid any serious health consequences.

If you find that you have recurring episodes of chest pain or tightness, or if you feel that stress may be causing other physical issues, talk to a healthcare professional at your local FastMed Urgent Care. Our staff will help you to be sure that you aren’t missing the warning signs for other health problems. We’re open 365 days a year, 7 days a week – stop by any time!

Should You Seek Care for Dry Winter Skin?

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Should You Seek Care for Dry Winter Skin?

Winter means a lot of things, and unfortunately one of them is the beginning of dry skin season. Whether you’re staying inside and turning on the heat or you’re going out to brave the windy cold, the result is the same: dry, itchy skin. Here is a look at some of the most common winter skin ailments to help you understand what you’re up against and what you can do about it.

What’s Happening

Normally, moisture is trapped in your skin by a thin layer of oil. This oil is a good thing; it protects the underlying cells from germs and foreign substances. Dry air takes that layer of oil away so that the water that was keeping your skin soft can escape. That’s dry skin. When your skin loses moisture it shrinks (which is why dry skin feels tight and itchy), and this shrinking exposes the underlying skin cells to all kinds of germs and irritants. So what are the dry skin conditions you’re most likely to be experiencing? Let’s find out.

Eczema

Eczema causes dryness, itching, blistering, and cracking, and it often looks like scaly patches, blisters, or leathery areas. Flare-ups become more likely as humidity and temperatures drop. Some fabrics and warm clothing can aggravate eczema, as well as certain deodorants, soaps, and excessive bathing. Apply plenty of moisturizer while your skin is still damp after bathing and use ointment to help soothe and ease discomfort.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is chronic condition that causes dry, itchy (and sometimes painful) skin. It happens when your body overproduce skin cells on your elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. If you have psoriasis, try applying a cortisone cream. You can also try soaking in warm water with an oilated bath product to help alleviate itching. When you get out, gently pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer.

Dandruff

Dandruff occurs when skin cells reproduce too rapidly and start to flake off. Dry winter weather brings on more flare-ups.  Sometimes dandruff inflammation even moves beyond your scalp to your ears, nose, eyebrows, and other skin folds. For best results, alternate between several dandruff shampoos that use different ingredients. If that doesn’t help, you may need a prescription shampoo and medication.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness resulting from the swelling of the small blood vessels of your nose, cheeks, neck, scalp, and ears. You can use retinoid creams and prescription antibiotics to combat the inflammation. To help reduce dryness and protect your skin, use a soothing cream and a soft scarf to wrap your face before heading outside.

Winter Dry Skin

This is the most wide-spread winter skin problem, and it happens when already-dry skin is exposed to dry air or low environmental humidity (like in heated areas). Skin becomes itchy, chapped, red, or scaly. To soothe dry skin, use mild soaps with warm water instead of hot, and keep your bathing brief. Follow up with moisturizer and ointment to soften your skin and alleviate itching as much as possible.

When to Seek Care

If you’ve tried everything and your skin condition still isn’t improving, it may be time to seek professional help. A qualified medical professional will be able to tell you whether or not you need medical treatment.  Here are the signs to look for:

  • Your rash doesn’t improve or go away, or it gets worse when you use home remedies.
  • You’re experiencing joint pain, fever, or a sore throat along with the rash.
  • Your rash is red, swollen, or tender.
  • You see any indication of infection like swelling, streaks of redness, or very tender areas.
  • You recently started taking a new medication and the rash developed shortly afterward.

Don’t let your dry winter skin ruin the winter months. Visit your local FastMed Urgent Care so you can enjoy your holidays to the fullest!

The Perfect Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

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The perfect Thanksgiving leftover sandwich has become the stuff of legend. Many have tried their hand at crafting the ultimate sandwich out of the remnants of their Thanksgiving feasts, but our recipe is so good that it will have you looking forward to the turkey’s encore more than its main event!

What You Need

  • 1 large potato roll (or yeast roll – whatever bread was served at your Thanksgiving meal)
  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Leftover gravy
  • Leftover turkey
  • Leftover cranberry relish

What to Do

Here’s how to combine your leftovers in the most delicious way:

  1. Combine the leftover stuffing and leftover gravy in a small bowl, and microwave it for thirty seconds, stirring halfway through. Add enough gravy to keep the stuffing moist and give it lots of flavor!
  2. Cover your potatoes and turkey with a damp paper towel (so that they retain their moisture) and microwave them for about 30 seconds – until warm. 
  3. Open your potato roll and spread a thin layer of warm mashed potatoes on the bottom.
  4. Pile on your leftover turkey.
  5. Spread your warm stuffing and gravy mixture on top of the turkey, making sure that you cover the sandwich corner to corner.
  6. Drizzle generously with cranberry relish (or jelly).
  7. Spread another thin layer of mashed potatoes on the top slice of your roll and top your sandwich.

What a sandwich! Enjoy your Thanksgiving experience all over again, this time between two slices of bread.

Different Types of Flu Vaccinations

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Flu Vaccines

Flu season is officially underway, and you always want to err on the side of safety where your health is concerned. You have questions about flu vaccinations, though. What types of vaccinations are available? How do they work? Use this helpful flu vaccination review and let FastMed do the legwork for you.

Flu Facts

About one in every five Americans gets influenza every year. The flu is highly contagious and occasionally fatal. Flu season can last all the way from October to May. The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get your annual influenza vaccination. Everyone over the age of six months should get vaccinated. Be proactive – you’ll be glad you did.

Flu Prevention is Easy

Fortunately for you, flu prevention is easier now than ever before. Influenza vaccinations are readily available and easily administered, either nasally or via a flu shot. Flu vaccines need to be updated annually to remain effective against the constantly-changing virus. That’s why you need to get vaccinated yearly – it keeps you one step ahead of the virus.

Flu Vaccines Decoded

There are two basic types of flu vaccines, and they’re as easy to remember as three and four. Trivalent vaccines flu vaccines will protect you against three different flu viruses, and quadrivalent vaccines are going to protect you against four different flu viruses. Trivalent flu vaccines protect against one influenza B virus and two influenza A viruses, while quadrivalent flu vaccines cover you against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Flu Vaccine Options

Now that you know the difference between trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines, let’s check out your flu vaccine options for the 2014-2015 flu season. We’ll start with trivalent flu vaccines.

Now let’s look at your quadrivalent flu vaccine options.

  • Quadrivalent flu shots are available in standard-dose and can be given to children as young as 6 months, while other standard-dose quadrivalent shots are approved for users aged 3 years and older.
  • Quadrivalent nasal spray vaccines are approved for healthy people aged 2 to 49.

Be careful: children ages 2 through 8 shouldn’t have any underlying medical conditions that might predispose them to influenza complications. If your children have a fever or other symptoms of an underlying virus, wait until the symptoms subside before giving them their flu vaccination.

Remember that some treatments described here may not be available where you live. Which option is the best for you? Visit your FastMed Urgent Care to discuss your options and get your flu vaccination as soon as possible.

Why You Should Get Your Flu Shots Now

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Why You Should Get Your Flu Shots Now

Getting your annual influenza shots is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. Roughly one in every five Americans get the flu every year. Keep your vaccination current to stay healthy and to avoid passing the flu on to others.

Influenza is highly contagious and can be a serious or, in some cases, deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, the average number of flu-associated deaths in the U.S. was between 3,000-49,000 people. Flu season can last for almost six months, from October all the way into May. Influenza viruses are respiratory, and people who have influenza can pass it on to others by coughing, sneezing, or talking. You can also contract the flu by touching a surface where the virus is present, then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Good hygiene is especially important during flu season. Don’t forget to wash your hands!

If you’re in a high-risk group, or if you’re regularly around someone who is, you should be even more proactive about keeping your vaccination up to date. Everyone over the age of six months should get the flu vaccine. Children under five are at the highest risk, especially if they’re younger than two years old, as well as pregnant women and anyone suffering from a chronic health condition. Seniors are especially vulnerable, accounting for around 90 percent of all flu-related deaths each season.

Flu prevention is easy. Vaccinations are readily available and easily administered nasally or via a flu shot. Influenza strains are constantly changing, so vaccines need to be updated annually to remain effective. There are several preventive vaccines available for the current flu season. If you have been exposed to someone with the flu but you haven’t been vaccinated, there are FDA-approved antiviral medications available. These drugs have a 70-90 percent effective rate. The sooner you are treated, the better your chances are of avoiding infection.

Getting vaccinated every year is a wise choice to stay out in front of the virus. To avoid catching the flu this year, stick with these precautions and visit FastMed Urgent Care to get your vaccination as soon as possible

 

 

FastMed Opens to Hickory, NC Residents November 15

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

FastMed Urgent Care Opens in Hickory, North Carolina

FastMed Urgent Care has opened its 41st full service urgent care clinic in Hickory, North Carolina today.

Located at the corner of McDonald Parkway southeast and Highway 70 southeast, FastMed is next to Hickory Furniture Mart and just in front of Valley Connection YMCA. FastMed is also neighbors with Applebee's, Holiday Inn Express and Valley Crossing Shopping Center. FastMed is only minutes from Catawba Community College and Valley Hills Mall in Hickory.

FastMed Urgent Care in Hickory provides walk-in treatment seven days a week 365 days a year, has on-site digital x-ray and lab services and accepts most insurances and self-pay patients. FastMed clinics see and treat patients for acute injuries and illnesses, and provide other services including athletic sports physicals, DOT physicals for work and drug screens.

Through the end of November, FastMed in Hickory will be providing tours, education on available urgent care services, free blood pressure checks, an opportunity to meet FastMed providers and clinical staff and a small token of appreciation for visiting.

For more information, visit our FastMed Hickory clinic’s website page by clicking HERE or call: 828.404.3656.

Directions:

From I40, FastMed is exit 125 when heading east, onto Lenoir-Rhyne Parkway Southeast then a left onto Highway 70 Southeast.

From I40 heading west, take exit 126 onto McDonald Parkway Southeast and FastMed is less than a mile away at the corner of Highway 70 S. East and McDonald Parkway.

Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety [INFOGRAPHIC]

There’s no time like the holidays for family togetherness. When you gather with loved ones for Thanksgiving later this month, one of the main attractions will be the traditional dinner. With all that activity in the kitchen, the risk of an accident is higher than ever. Here are a few simple reminders to help you navigate Thanksgiving and stay safe from harm.

Too Hot to Handle

Cooking requires heat, and heat can cause burns. Always keep an oven mitt or towel handy to use when picking up hot pots or pans. The same goes for serving dishes and plates. Stay safe and protect your hands from harm – now you’re cooking with gas!

Cut with Care

Knives are necessary tools, but a careless moment can end up in a trip to the emergency room. Don’t ruin your holiday dinner – always be mindful of knives and other sharp objects when you’re preparing and serving food.

Play it safe – keep the number for your local FastMed Urgent Care on hand in your kitchen. You’ll be glad you did!

More Convenient Care Coming to the Carolinas in 2014

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

FastMed in North Carolina Expands with Five New Locations

North Carolinians will have even greater access to quality, convenient urgent care facilities directly in their local communities before the end of the 2014. FastMed urgent care is opening five new full service medical clinics in North Carolina.

Candler, NC
FastMed in Candler will be opening December 6 just off I40 Exit 44 on Smokey Park highway across from the Buncombe Count Sports Park in the former Blockbuster Video store near Bi-Lo Gas, Ultratan, and just down from CVS Pharmacy. Click HERE for FastMed in Candler.

Hickory, NC
FastMed will be located in the new shopping development at the intersection of US Highway 70 Southeast and Startown Road/McDonald Parkway near The Gold King, Kangaroo Express and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. FastMed in Hickory opens November 15! Click HERE for FastMed in Hickory.

Leland, NC
Opening December 30 and located just off of highway 74/76, FastMed will be at the corner of Village Road and Fairview Road, near Advance Auto Parts, Go Gas and across the street from the Post Office, BB&T, Pop Shoppe and Citgo Gas station. Click HERE for FastMed in Leland.

Rockingham, NC
FastMed will be located in East Rockingham off of business 74 and just down the street from First Health Richmond memorial hospital. We are directly in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement and across the street from the Chevrolet Dealer.  Opening December 30, click HERE for FastMed in Rockingham.

Roxboro, NC
December 6, FastMed will be opening in Roxboro conveniently in Madison Corners Shopping Center with CVS Pharmacy, Little Caesars and Toreo’s Mexican on North Madison Boulevard between Carver Drive and Breckenridge Street. Click HERE for FastMed in Roxboro.

FastMed Urgent Care centers provide walk-in medical treatment for urgent injuries and illnesses 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including holidays, accept major insurance, have a self-pay discount program and accept all major forms of payment (credit card, debit card, check).

FastMed clinics see and treat patients with a wide range of acute medical injuries and illnesses, and provide occupational medicine such as post-accident injuries, pre-employment drug screens and DOT physicals. Click HERE for a complete list of services. All FastMed clinics are equipped with onsite labs, digital x-rays and electronic medical records. Every FastMed clinic holds The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for accreditation in compliance with the Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in ambulatory health care, meaning you as a FastMed patient can count on high quality health care.