FastMed Blog

Ebola virus: What you need to know about the deadly 2014 outbreak

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

As of April 28, two Americans, a Fort Worth, TX doctor, Kent Brantly and missionary hygienist, Nancy Writebol both working with Samaritan's Purse, have tested positive for Ebola and are receiving intensive medical care.

Dr. Samuel Brisbane, a top local Liberian health official, died of Ebola while treating patients at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced this as one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks, with over a 1,200 people throughout Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia infected since April when Ebola symptoms were first observed this year. The outbreak appears to be centered in West Africa. Limited Ebola outbreaks have occurred in 2012, 2011, 2009 and earlier, but the current human fatalities in 2014 are the highest since Ebola’s discovery in 1976.

After an air traveler brought it to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, health experts now fear infected air passengers who do not realize they have the virus could spread it around the world, as airlines with flights from Nigeria have destinations in Britain, other European countries and North America.

Airlines from these African countries are now screening air passengers, but experts say this may be ineffective because Ebola has an incubation period of 2-21 days and cannot be diagnosed on the spot.

What is Ebola?

First discovered in Sudan and Zaire in 1976, Ebola was named after the Ebola River in Zaire. Researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic, or animal-borne, with bats being the most likely source.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Ebola typically include weakness, fever, aches, rash, red eyes, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing with symptoms that progress to impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding. Symptoms appear 8-10 days after exposure to the Ebola virus, but can take as long as 21 days to incubate and manifest symptoms. Ebola has a fatality rate of up to 90% according to the WHO.

Prevention

Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluids. Avoid contact with the blood, secretions of an infected patient or anything they come in contact with. Healthcare providers have an increased risk of transmission specifically within health care settings.
For those traveling, avoid cities in countries where an outbreak is occurring. Limit or avoid direct physical contact with those demonstrating any similar symptoms, and all bodily fluids. To prevent vector-borne (organisms, such as mosquitoes, ticks or sandflies that act as a transmitter) Ebola, travelers should use insecticide-treated bed nets and wear insect repellent.

Treatment

There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, and treatment consists only of "supportive therapy,” including IV fluids and electrolytes, anticoagulants (to prevent blood clots) during early infection, procoagulants during late infection to control hemorrhaging (bleeding), maintaining oxygen levels, pain management, and administration of antibiotics or antimycotics (antifungal medication) as needed.

Critical Health Resources

More education information and updates on Ebola virus outbreak can be found on these resource websites:

Signs of Drug Use in Kids and Teenagers

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Signs of Drug Use in Kids and Teenagers

Have you noticed behavioral changes in your children lately? Are they hanging out with a new group of friends? Perhaps they are going out more frequently, or at odd hours. Maybe your child used to spend lots of time socializing, but has become more withdrawn lately. Behavior doesn’t spontaneously change; usually, there is some reason behind why your child is now acting a certain way. Sometimes, that reason is because he or she is experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Other than generic behavioral changes, there’s no one indication that your child is taking drugs. Each drug has its own unique signs and symptoms.

Alcohol

Alcohol use/abuse can begin as early as age 12, and a 2012 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that 78% of Americans ages 13-18 had consumed alcohol in the past year, with 47% consuming 12 or more drinks in the past year. 15% of the 10,123 teens surveyed met the criteria for lifetime alcohol abuse. The median age for kids to start drinking is 14, which is usually eighth or ninth grade. Some indications that your teen has begun to drink include morning grogginess, demanding more privacy or locking the doors, and an increased use in mouthwash and perfumes. Weight gain is also a side effect of drinking. If your child is suddenly sneaking out at night, hanging out with a new group of friends, and socializing more frequently or at later hours, keep an eye out. Parents’ intuition often proves to be correct.

Marijuana

According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future study of over 50,000 adolescents, 16.5% of 8th graders, 35.8% of 10th graders, and 45.5% of high school seniors have smoked marijuana or hashish. There are several clues that may help you determine if your child has recently started smoking marijuana. The drug has a distinct smell, so his/her room, car, or clothing may have a skunk-like odor. The child may try to counteract this smell by using an abundance of perfumes, air fresheners, or incense. Marijuana can make people less active, prone to fits of giggling, or less coherent than usual. Does your child seem tired or listless? Does he/she have trouble remembering things, seem less active, or have red, glassy eyes? These are all symptoms of marijuana use.

Cocaine

Fewer teens are trying cocaine, with only 2.6% of high school seniors using it in any form in the past year, the 2013 Monitoring the Future study reports. The average first-time cocaine user is 21.2 years old, although 28.4% of first-time users are under the age of 18 (NSDUH, 2010). Unlike marijuana and alcohol, cocaine is a stimulant, and thus has very different symptoms. A user may frequently make trips to the bathroom, or disappear for minutes at a time during activities. Teenagers who use cocaine may sniffle often, as though they always have a cold, or get more bloody noses. Sudden mood changes, both positive and negative, are also indicative of cocaine use. Cocaine is expensive, so your child may steal and/or begin selling off his/her possessions.

Heroin

In the past five years, there’s been a demographic shift in the primary users of heroin. By 2010, 90% of recent first-time heroin abusers were white, and half were women. Today’s heroin users can be found in the suburbs, and 75% of them turn to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription pain medications. Parents can help to avoid this by locking up or disposing of prescription narcotics, and by keeping a watchful eye out for symptoms of heroin use. Do not assume that if you don’t see needle marks, you don’t need to worry. Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or ingested in a number of other ways. One major sign of heroin use is pupil constriction, where the black part of the eye becomes very small. Sleep patterns can be disrupted, with the abuser appearing alert for a few hours, and then extremely tired. If you find spoons, aluminum foil, gum wrappers, or straws with burn marks on them, this could be drug paraphernalia. Decreased attention to hygiene and loss of motivation are also symptoms.

Any sudden major changes in your child’s behavior should be investigated. At FastMed we provide quick and easy drug tests so you can have peace of mind and get your child the help he or she may need.

The Brighter the Color, the More Nutritious the Fruit!

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Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are good for you. In fact, according to the Healthy Eating Plate by Harvard School of Public Health, half of every meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables! But not all fruits are created equal.

Summer fruits that are bright in color such as honeydew melon, mangos, and cantaloupe are generally more nutritious than duller-colored fruits. Keep in mind that you’re looking at the color of the fruit flesh, not the peel or skin. Orange vegetables are especially good for you. Organic fruits are even healthier, as they are pesticide free.

Take a look at the list below to see which summer fruits have the most antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Choose your favorites and throw together some delicious Fruit Skewers!

The Brighter the Color, the More Nutritious the Fruit! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Dwarfism and Little People Health Awareness Event, Oct. 18 in Holly Springs

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

October 18, 12 pm - 5 pm FastMed Urgent Care, Lowes Foods, Base Like Draft House and many other local businesses will be helping to host a Dwarfism and Little People Health Awareness Event in the Holly Springs Crossing Parking lot, located at the corner of Holly Springs Road and Base Lake Road in the town of Holly Springs.

Open to the public, the event has something for the entire family, from live music and entertainment, to good food, games for kids and adults, prizes and raffles and information Dwarfism.

The event is being put on by Lindsay Thomas who hopes to educate the community on Dwarfism, its causes, changes for those with family or friends with dwarfism and improvement of treatment and health care options for little people. Lindsay’s daughter Lilly was diagnosed shortly after birth, and their family is paving the way for brighter futures for parents of and children with Dwarfism.

Please click here to join the event and let us know you are coming so we can plan to have enough for everyone!

Personal Letter from Lindsay


On February 28, 2013 my husband Joel and I welcomed our first child into the world.  After twenty and half hours of labor, a C-section, and a short stint in the neonatal intensive-care unit, we were informed that our child showed signs of achondroplasia, a fourteen letter word that we could barely pronounce much less understand.  Three weeks after arriving home with our baby girl it was confirmed through genetic testing that our little girl was indeed a little person.  Our daughter was born with a disorder of bone growth that causes the most common type of Dwarfism.  We were shocked because my husband and I are both of average height and neither of us have family history of Dwarfism. We learned that approximately 80% of little people are born to average height parents and it occurs in approximately 1 in 24,000 births.  We were given a wealth of overwhelming information in a three ring binder regarding medical issues that our child could possibly face including but not limited to sleep apnea, hydrocephalus, and skeletal deformation that could require bracing.  At two months of age it was confirmed through a sleep study that our daughter Lilly was demonstrating periods of central apnea where her automatic response to breath is interrupted and could cause periods of oxygen deprivation.  It was suggested that she have spinal decompression surgery as soon as possible.  This surgery consisted of shaving the base of her skull (foramen magnum) to allow for more room for the spinal cord to exist without compression.  One of the riskiest parts of the surgery for Lilly was undergoing anesthesia due to her inability to breath for herself consistently.  The surgery was a success and after about two weeks of recovery we started to notice improvements in her physical and cognitive development.  

Lilly is now sixteen months old and in addition to her spinal decompression surgery has underwent two surgeries to receive tubes in her ears, adenoids removed, and three sleep studies to monitor her breathing.  She has been receiving physical and occupational therapy to aid in her physical development since she was about four months old.  We see doctors at Duke, Chapel Hill, Wake Med, Rex Hospital, Raleigh Neurology, Western Wake Pediatrics, and ENT and Audiology Associates to maintain appropriate care for Lilly locally but also travel to Nemours Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware to seek the expertise of a skeletal dysplasia specialist twice a year.  It has been a scary yet beautiful journey navigating life for our precious daughter.  However, it is very frustrating as a parent to be told "I'm not sure" or "I'll have to check on that" by medical professionals when you are facing surgeries or other important medical decisions that will affect your child forever.  

We've been very fortunate to have a wonderful group of doctors who are willing to learn and educate themselves as well as us as parents on the appropriate care for little people.  But not all families are as fortunate.  Familiarity and understanding for the little people community needs to be brought to the forefront, starting with the medical community.  Broader health care provider education and training for treatment of children with Dwarfism gives confused parents a solid starting point to gain awareness and acceptance of their situations.  The scariest part for me as a mother learning about Lilly's diagnosis was the unknown, and I am passionately working within the community to increase awareness, education and acceptance of children born with Dwarfism, and increased access to medical treatment of those children and little people. As her biggest advocate I aim to provide a loving and accepting community for my daughter, as well as all other little people through education and awareness on Dwarfism.


Meet the Provider - Teri Fitzgerald

0 Comment(s) | | by Eric Torres |

Teri Fitzgerald, PA-C
Full Time Provider of FastMed Urgent Care in Tempe, AZ off of Elliot Rd.

Teri Fitzgerald joined Advanced Urgent Care a little over a year ago and is excited to now be a member of the FastMed team. She has over 3 years of experience in urgent care and is currently the only full time provider at the Elliot Clinic in Tempe, AZ.

Prior to FastMed, Teri worked at several other urgent care clinics in the Phoenix area. She began her career in pediatric cardiothoracic and trauma surgery at Phoenix Children’s Hospital prior to switching to urgent care.

Teri was originally born in Dallas, Texas, but moved to Phoenix at the age of two. She achieved her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Health Education from the University of Arizona in 2008. Then, she attended Midwestern University’s Physician Assistant Program and received her Master's Degree as a Physician Assistant in 2010.

Teri is married to Ryan, her husband of four years and they have a two year old Olde English Bulldog named Bailey. She enjoys spending time with her family, do it yourself home projects, and reading non-fiction novels.

Meet the Provider - Beth Lockhart

0 Comment(s) | | by Eric Torres |

Beth Lockhart was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois. She moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University. At ASU, she received her undergraduate degree in psychology and went on to work in the field of human adoption for 12 years where she wrote many publications in the field. In 1999, Beth graduated from Arizona School of Health Sciences (now A. T. Still University) with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

After graduating from Arizona School of Health Sciences, Beth got an experience most people do not get. She spent six years working in Washington State in a remote clinic that was 45 miles from anywhere where her only neighbors were cows. Eventually, however, she missed her friends and moved back to Phoenix. Throughout her career, Beth has worked in family practice, retail medicine, and urgent care.

From 2007-2008 Beth worked full time for Advanced Urgent Care, and then returned to the company in 2013 to work full time at the Indian School clinic. She says that she is extremely happy to be back, and looks forward to a great future with FastMed.

When not at work, Beth is active in animal rescue and animal welfare. You'll find her rehabilitating small dogs with any number of issues, as well as working toward improving the lives of homeless pets in general.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral illness that usually affects young children. It should not be confused with foot-and-mouth or hoof-and-mouth disease, which only occurs in animals. Because this disease is most frequently spread through oral ingestion, it is common in childcare settings. As any parent knows, young children frequently put their hands in their mouths, and this can be one of the fastest ways to get hand, foot, and mouth disease. Over time, exposure to the virus builds antibodies in the immune system, so it’s less common among teenagers and adults, although they can still spread the disease.

Your child may not show symptoms of HFMD until three to seven days after infection. The first sign of the illness is usually a fever, accompanied by sore throat. A day or two after the fever begins, you may see painful sores in the child’s mouth or throat, as well as a rash on the hands, feet, or buttocks.

The mouth and throat sores are often painful, and your child may have difficulty swallowing, which can lead to dehydration. Use an oral spray to numb the pain, as hydration is essential to recuperating from an illness. Milk may be gentler on the throat than more acidic options like juice. There is no treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease, but symptoms generally clear up on their own after seven to ten days. Rest and hydration will speed the healing process, and you may administer Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain or fever, if necessary.

You can avoid HFMD as well as several other viruses by developing good hygiene habits. This includes thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing meals, and after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Encourage little ones to wash their hands frequently throughout the day, and to cover their mouths with their elbows when they cough or sneeze.

If you or a family member has a fever lasting more than a couple of days, or develops a rash on the hands, feet, or buttocks, you can come to your local FastMed that same day to get it checked out. There’s no appointment necessary, and you’ll get the same great care you’d receive at any doctor’s office. 

Why Get Your DOT Physical at FastMed? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Independent truck drivers require a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam every two years, but long hours and inconvenient schedules can make it difficult for most truck drivers to secure a timely appointment. Here at FastMed, we offer convenient, extended hours to accommodate people with time constraints or inflexible working commitments.

Unlike traditional family practices, FastMed Urgent Care locations accept walk-ins well after normal business hours and on weekends, which can be convenient for professionals who don’t work a traditional 9 to 5 job. FastMed has several locations near the I-40 on both the East and West Coasts in North Carolina and Arizona.

FastMed’s locations boast FMCSA-certified providers who can help you 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Exams are as low as $85, and you can schedule an online check-in with ZipPass right now. Find supplemental information on how to prepare for your visit, or check out the comprehensive FastMed DOT Exam Program pamphlet to learn more about the examination process. 

Call your local FastMed today, and take the first step toward completing your required DOT physical exam. 

Why Get Your DOT Physical at FastMed? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 5 Summer Allergies [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Summer allergies can be one of the more annoying causes of sniffles and clogged sinuses during everyone’s favorite time of year. Luckily, FastMed has plenty of convenient locations and all kinds of great online help and information for your summertime fun and care. Allergies can cause a wide range of reactions; for some, it’s a mild nuisance, but for others it can cause serious distress. Knowing common triggers can help you avoid discomfort.

Below, you’ll find the most common types of summer allergens so you’ll be better prepared when heading outdoors or speaking with a physician or nurse about how you might better control your allergies. The basic forms tend to be mold, poisonous plants, stinging insects, pollen, and things we eat like seasonal fruits and vegetables. Let’s take a more detailed look in the infographic: 

Top 5 Summer Allergies [INFOGRAPHIC]

FastMed Offers Discount Sports Physicals at Select Locations

0 Comment(s) | | by Shanaye Barber |

From now until August 31, 2014, FastMed Urgent Care will offer $15 Sports Physicals at the Kernersville, NC location and $20 Sports Physicals at the Salisbury, NC location. The sports physicals are good for one year and can be used for school sports teams, youth organizations, camps and more.  As always, walk-ins are welcome at all of our locations. Kids of all ages are encouraged to stop in and receive their sports physicals.

To print the sports physical voucher for the Kernersville, NC location, click here.

To print the sports physical voucher for the Salisbury, NC location, click here.

FastMed is also offering $55 DOT Physicals at the following locations: Kernersville, Salisbury and Charlotte at Wilkinson Blvd.