When you're hurt or sick, you want to get well again as soon as possible. If you are concerned that your condition may be life threatening, it is best to go straight to the emergency room. But what about less serious issues, like broken bones or fevers?
Did you know that the average visit time to a FastMed Urgent Care clinic is only one hour? Compare that to a four-hour average visit time for emergency departments. If you do visit the emergency room and they determine that your condition isn't urgent, your wait will likely be even longer. Do you really want to sit in the ER waiting room for half a day if you don't have to?
Another benefit to visiting FastMed Urgent Care for less serious conditions is the cost. On average, a visit to FastMed Urgent Care will cost you seven times less than a trip to the emergency room.
Use our interactive chart below to determine when you should go to the ER, and when you can save time and money by visiting your neighborhood FastMed Urgent Care.
If you’ve just suffered a dog, cat, or even a monkey bite, the first thing you’ll want to do is get to a safe place, away from whatever bit you. Pay attention to the type/breed of animal and how it behaves; animal behavior is one of several factors that will help you decide whether to seek assistance from a doctor or other medical professional, like those at your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic.
Seek Medical Attention If:
The bite punctures or tears the skin.
Deep and/or dirty wounds put you at risk for infection. The more difficult it is to clean (using soap, water, antibiotic ointment, and a clean bandage), the more seriously you should consider seeing a medical professional.
You aren’t current on your tetanus shots.
If your last shot was over five years ago, you may need a shot from a medical provider.
Your wound is infected.
Signs of infection include redness, swelling, pus drainage, and pain. If you have a medical condition that makes you more prone to infection, you’ll need to be extra cautious.
The animal that bit you could have rabies.
The potential for rabies is higher if:
- The animal is acting strangely.
- The animal was wild and/or undomesticated.
- The animal is a bat, raccoon, skunk, or fox. Cats, dogs, rabbits, and rodents are less likely to have rabies.
Even waking up to see a bat in your room can be enough of a reason to go and seek medical help. Bat bites are sometimes difficult to see.
The bite is on your hands, fingers, face, or neck.
You may need a medical provider to prescribe antibiotics or provide stiches in these and other cases.
If you think you may need medical attention for an animal bite, come to your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic today. We’ll assess your injury and give you the treatment you need.
Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease causing uncontrollable, violent coughing making it hard to breathe causing a deep "whooping" sound often heard when the patient tries to take a breath.
Over the past few weeks, FastMed has been seeing an increase in the number of suspected and confirmed cases of pertussis in the County. Several of these cases have been in unvaccinated children.
If you suspect you have Pertussis based upon the descriptions of symptoms, immediately visit your nearest FastMed Urgent Care for evaluation. If we suspect pertussis, FastMed will call the Health Department the same day.
Symptoms of Pertussis
Persons with the following symptoms should be suspected of having pertussis:
- Cough lasting for >2 weeks PLUS 1 of the following
- Paroxysms (violent fits of coughing)
- Inspiratory whooping
- Posttussive (cough induced) vomiting
Keep in mind that infants under 6 months of age, partially vaccinated children, adolescents and adults frequently do not have the characteristic whoop.
Testing for Pertussis
Persons suspected of having pertussis may have the following 2 tests:
- Culture of nasopharyngeal secretions for pertussis – This culture is a sample of secretions from the uppermost part of the throat, behind the nose, collected to test and detect the pertussis bacteria
- PCR testing of nasopharyngeal secretions for pertussis - "molecular photocopying" the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used copy small segments of DNA for testing and detection of the pertussis viruses
Pertussis is highly contagious in the first 2 weeks; negligible by 3 weeks. Patients are no longer contagious after 5 days of treatment with appropriate antibiotics.
The following medications may be administered in treatment of pertussis:
Stay Home and Limit Exposure to Infants & Young Children
Until antibiotic course medication treatment has been completed, stay home. Do not go to school, work, after school activities, other activities outside the home. Suspected or known cases should stay away from infants & young children, especially unvaccinated infants, until they have completed 5 days of appropriate antibiotics. Suspected cases who do not receive antibiotics should be isolated for 3 weeks after the onset of cough or until the end of the cough, whichever comes first.
A pertussis booster (Tdap) is important to prevent spread to unimmunized infants & young children, as immunity to pertussis wanes in previously immunized adolescents and adults.
All contacts to a pertussis case should have their immunization status verified and brought up-to-date.
Vaccination is recommended to protect the person against further exposure in case he/she has not been infected, vaccination against pertussis following recent exposure is not effective against infection.
Mel G. Lee, MD, CCFP, RMC, RCN (pilot)
Chief Medical Officer North Carolina
FastMed Urgent Care
As you may have heard, as of December 3rd, NC had its first 3 flu-associated deaths this season. Locally, in the past couple of weeks, we have begun to see an increase in the numbers of lab-confirmed influenza, mainly influenza A (H1N1).
- All 3 were middle-aged persons with underlying medical conditions who were unvaccinated.
- They had tested positive for influenza A, and were from Eastern NC, the Triad and the Charlotte area, respectively.
The most important thing you can do right now is get your patients vaccinated. We highly recommend receiving the vaccination immediately if you have not received this year’s vaccine.
FastMed Prevention, Testing and Treatment
Influenza vaccination recommendations
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older who does not have a contraindication. You should be vaccinated as early in the flu season as possible. It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for a person to develop peak protective antibody levels so waiting until flu is spreading in the community may be too late. Vaccination will last the entire flu season.
Allergies to Vaccination
People with a history of egg allergy who report only hives after exposure to egg can receive the flu shot. (The flu mist is not recommended for those with egg allergies) If the person's egg allergy involved a more severe reaction (like angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness or recurrent emesis), they can get the recombinant hemagglutinin vaccine, which is indicated for persons aged 18 through 49 years.
High Risk Individuals
It's especially important that the following people at high risk of serious complications from the flu - and their close contacts - be vaccinated:
- Children younger than 5 years (especially those younger than 2 years old)
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks postpartum
- People with chronic pulmonary or cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological, hematologic, or metabolic conditions
- People who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression cause by medications or HIV infection)
- People who have a BMI over 40
- People less than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- Health-care personnel
- Those living with or caring for persons at high risk of severe influenza-related complications
Diagnostic Testing for Influenza
Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests produce very quick results, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care immediately if you suspect you have the flu.
Influenza Antiviral Medications
If we perform a rapid influenza test and determine you have the flu, a number of different antiviral medications may be considered for your treatment. Early influenza detection and antiviral treatment can shorten the duration of fever & illness symptoms, and may reduce the risk of complications from influenza & death, and may shorten the duration of hospitalization.
Influenza Antiviral Medications are most effective when treatment is administered early, especially within 48 hours of influenza illness onset.
Antiviral treatment is recommended as early as possible for any patient with confirmed or suspected influenza who:
- Is hospitalized;
- Has severe, complicated, or progressive illness (regardless of prior health status); OR
- Is at higher risk for influenza complications.
Antiviral treatment might still be beneficial in patients with severe, complicated or progressive illness and in hospitalized patients when started after 48 hours of illness onset. Antiviral treatment also can be considered for any previously healthy, symptomatic outpatient not at high risk with confirmed or suspected influenza on the basis of clinical judgment, if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset. Antiviral medications are approximately 70-90% effective in preventing influenza and are useful adjuncts to influenza vaccination. Medication must be taken each day for the duration of potential exposure to a person with influenza and continued for 7 days after the last known exposure. For persons taking antiviral chemoprophylaxis after inactivated influenza vaccination, the recommended duration is until immunity after vaccination develops (about two weeks in adults; can take longer in children depending on age and vaccination history).
All persons with suspected or confirmed influenza should stay at home for at least 24 hours after their fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medication. Even after contracting the flu, correct cough and respiratory hygiene and hand washing can help limit public exposure to the flu.
The Flu Is Contagious
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others
FastMed Urgent Care will report influenza-like illness in patients with recent swine exposure or any outbreaks of influenza-like illness (fever + cough or sore throat), especially among young children to the local county health department.
Mel G. Lee, MD, CCFP, RMC, RCN (pilot)
Chief Medical Officer North Carolina
FastMed Urgent Care
The holidays are a time to eat great food and create memories with the people you care about the most. With so much going on, the holidays also present a lot of opportunities for accidents to happen.
Tripping and Falling
Everybody trips from time to time, but presents and extension cords create more obstacles than you might normally have around the house. Tripping or falling can lead to cuts, scrapes, or broken bones, and even severe head injuries.
Keep walkways clear and avoid putting things on or near your staircase to prevent tripping. Never carry something that obstructs your view of where you’re going. There is no need to carry all of the presents downstairs at once. Make multiple trips. If you spend time outside on icy driveways, be sure to wear shoes with rubber soles that will prevent you from slipping.
Injuries often occur from falling off of ladders while decorating your home or Christmas tree. The American Ladder Institute recommends that you always inspect your ladder to make sure it is in good condition before using it. When setting it up, place it on firm, level ground. Never set up a ladder in front of a door. When climbing, maintain at least three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand should always be touching the ladder.
Scalding or Burning Your Skin
With so many cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy to collide and burn yourself or someone else. Scalding water and hot pots and pans can easily create serious injuries. Communicate with other people in the kitchen and always remember to take proper safety precautions, like using pot holders and oven mitts.
If you like to fry your turkey, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind. First, always fry your turkey outdoors, away from anything that could catch on fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the oil in a turkey fryer is heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That's enough to cause third degree burns almost instantly if it comes into contact with skin. Place the fryer on a solid and level surface and never overfill it with oil. Keep children and animals away from the fryer to prevent accidents.
Fires & Electrocution
Fires are one of the most common, dangerous, and potentially expensive accidents during the holiday season. All of the major winter holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa involve candles or lights. You can find flameless candles at most major grocery stores and big box retailers. If possible, avoid candles entirely inside your home. If you're going to light real candles, it is important to follow general fire safety rules to the letter. Keep candles out of reach of children or animals and anything that could catch on fire. Never leave a candle burning when you leave the room. Learn more about candle safety at the National Fire Protection Association website, nfpa.org.
Christmas trees are another major source of fires during the holidays. Before you purchase strands of lights, make sure that they have been lab tested and marked with the proper safety certification marks for your application. These include CSA, UL, or ETL. Inspect all of your lights and decorations each year before you put them up. There should never be any exposed wiring, frayed ends, or loose connections. Replace any burned out bulbs with new bulbs of the proper wattage. Keep an eye on extension chords and surge protectors to make sure they don't overheat. Most importantly, never go to bed or leave your home with your lights still running. The NFPA recommends that when your tree begins to dry out and drop needles, it is time to get rid of it. Otherwise, it's a dangerous accident waiting to happen.
Food-Borne Illnesses and Poisoning
Just because your grandma makes the best stuffing you've ever had doesn't mean that she is necessarily doing everything safely in order to prevent food-borne illnesses like salmonella or botulism. Maintaining a clean kitchen environment and handling food properly is extremely important. Simple things like not thawing a turkey correctly or forgetting to wash the counter with hot, soapy water can lead to serious illness. Nothing ruins a family gathering like food poisoning.
Here are some food safety tips from the FDA. Follow these guidelines to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy at your holiday gathering.
Accidental poisoning during the holidays is also more common than you might think. Seasonal plants including mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis are poisonous to both humans and animals. Keep them out of reach of children and pets or, better yet, go for the plastic replicas instead.
Children and animals always manage to scout out forbidden items. During the holidays, there are probably a lot more knickknacks around the house than usual. Ornaments, decorations, candy wrappers, and small toy parts are all choking hazards and should be kept away from children and pets at all times.
Be sure to remind your family and friends of these dangers as well. Some people may not have children or pets, and might not think about these kinds of safety issues on a regular basis. It may not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on children, dogs, and cats, just in case.
More people travel during the holidays than any other time of the year. There are also consistently more automobile accidents during the holidays. If you live in or are traveling to some of the colder states, you may run into snow or ice. If at all possible, avoid driving in bad weather, or at least wait until the salt trucks and snowplows have had a chance to clear the roads. If you don't have a choice, here are some important safety tips to keep in mind.
Don't be fooled into thinking that you can drive normally in icy or snowy weather. Slow down and leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you in case you need to stop or get out of the way. Never use cruise control while driving on snow or ice. Instead, use your accelerator and your brakes gently in order to avoid skidding. Bridges, overpasses, and side roads are more difficult to drive on than major highways due to black ice. For more safety tips for driving in winter weather, visit weather.com.
Neck and Back Injuries
Are you planning on visiting family or friends for the holidays? If so, you will probably be bringing some luggage along with you. In order to avoid injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that you pack lightly and always bend at the knees when lifting. Never bend at the waist or twist when lifting or carrying your bags. If something is too heavy, ask for help or pack in smaller bags that are easier to carry.
Staying home to host the holidays presents its own unique challenges. Carrying Christmas trees, bringing in groceries, and shoveling snow are also good ways to hurt your neck or back. Before you begin shoveling, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that you stretch to warm up your muscles. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Find a shovel that is the right size for you and space your hands out so that you are using your arms, not your back. Push the snow instead of lifting it. Keep your back straight and always lift with your legs.
Despite your best efforts, accidents still happen. Whether it's a broken bone, cut, or burn, FastMed Urgent Care can help. If you're located in North Carolina or Arizona, please consider visiting one of our walk-in clinics, right in your neighborhood. In most cases, we'll have you in and out in less than an hour. If you want to speed up the process even more, check-in now with ZipPass and we'll be ready for you when you arrive.
What if we could accurately track and combat the flu several weeks ahead of the Centers for Disease Control? Well, it turns out we can. Welcome to the future, folks – we’ve been living in it for a few years now thanks to Google Flu Trends. Here’s how it works:
There’s another key insight to glean from the data – and no, it’s not that Google could probably track a zombie outbreak (although that might someday prove useful). Looking at US data from years past, you’ll see that each flu season is different not only in terms of intensity, but also in when the most intense periods occur. The 2012-2013 flu season was most intense in early January. The 2009-2010 season peaked in October. And February had the highest flu activity for 2007-2008.
To quote the CDC, “Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.” That’s why it’s important to get your flu shot now. If you wait, you could be too late. And ultimately, you can’t Google your way out of the flu virus – you need to protect yourself with a flu shot.
If you’re about to Google “where do I get a flu shot,” look no further than your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic. Find your nearest location and get your flu shot today for just $20.
10. Staying home sick with the flu is the only way I can justify watching reruns of “Let’s Make a Deal.”
9. I need to practice coughing for my cover band’s upcoming rendition of “Let Me Clear My Throat.”
8. Higher internal body temperatures mean big savings on home heating costs.
7. I don’t want to subject my family to the psychological torment of seeing me briefly wince.
6. Money is tight this holiday season, but influenza is a gift you can give to your whole family.
5. Sure, flu vaccines used to be cool, but now they’ve gone mainstream. I’m into more obscure vaccinations now.
4. “Antibodies” just sound so negative. Maybe if they called them “happy bodies.”
3. Nobody pokes holes in my “Limp Bizkit Rulz 1999” shoulder tattoo.
2. I have this picture of the flu virus, so I already have a flu shot! Get it! Shot! Ha ha! Anyone? Wait, where are you going?
Image source: CDC.gov
1. How else will I physically manifest the symptoms of my Bieber Fever?
This holiday season, FastMed Urgent Care in North Carolina is proud to partner with The Salvation Army to sponsor a food and clothing drive from December 2, 2013 through January 15, 2014. Beginning this week, stop by your nearest FastMed and drop off any toys, nonperishable, canned food and/or gently used or new clothes to help those in need. The clinics will feature two barrels: one for food and one for clothing and toys.
The following North Carolina FastMed locations will feature donation barrels:
- Cary at Cornerstone Dr.
- Cary at Ten-Ten Rd.
- Chapel Hill
- High Point
- Raleigh at Creedmoor Rd.
- Raleigh at Millbrook Rd.
- Wake Forest
For questions or for more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping FastMed Urgent Care to support such a great cause!
Keep Your Germs to Yourself
Do: Wash your hands
Strep throat is a bacterial infection and is very contagious for up to 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics. Use antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer regularly to avoid spreading germs.
Kissing may be a quick and easy way to spread the love, but it’s also the fastest way to give your love interest strep throat.
Rest Your Voice
Do: Whisper. Better yet, avoid talking.
When you have strep, your throat will feel raw. The only way to let it heal is to rest your voice.
Don’t: Perform at a rock concert
Save your musical debut until after you're feeling better.
Drink Your Way Back to Health
Do: Drink lots of fluids
Staying hydrated is really important whenever you're sick. Drinking lots of water and other clear fluids will help soothe your throat.
Don’t: Go to a keg party
Alcohol will only make your throat more dry and painful. It also tends to dehydrate you. The same goes for coffee. Save the kegger for when you’re better.
Eat Foods That Are Easy on Your Throat
Do: Eat lots of popsicles
The kids love this one. Eating popsicles and sucking on candy will help to numb the throat and lessen the pain. Throat lozenges are also good, especially if they are mentholated.
Don’t: Eat spicy foods
When your throat is raw, the last thing you want to do is eat spicy foods. Not only will it irritate your throat, but the burning sensation can be really painful.
Breathe Clean, Moist Air
Do: Use a humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air. This will make it less harsh and will prevent your throat from getting too dry while you sleep.
Smoking is always bad for you, but it can be especially irritating on your sore throat.
At FastMed Urgent Care, we perform rapid strep testing. Combined with on-site lab work, we can determine if you have strep throat in as little as 10 minutes. If you've got a sore throat, visit your neighborhood FastMed Urgent Care. We'll have you feeling better in no time.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Sick
Ferris plans to take another day off, but when he wakes up, he’s actually sick. He stays in bed all day.
Back to the Flu-ture
Marty wastes 15 minutes coughing in the DeLorean, missing his chance to get back to the year 1985.
It’s a Miserable Life
After protesting that he won’t get the flu shot, a man is taken to an alternate reality in which everyone has the flu. Our hero returns to his own reality filled with the true spirit of vaccination.
Saving Private Byron
Private Byron gets the flu while on holiday leave. He takes some antiviral drugs, feels better, and then takes a nap.
A Flu-tiful Mind
A brilliant scientist descends into madness when he can’t remember whether he’s gotten a flu shot. He’s so distracted that he fails to win the Nobel Prize.
Indiana Jones and the Two Week Sick Leave
Professor Jones takes a leave of absence after coming down with a nasty flu. Upon his return, he is faced with a daunting backload of academic work. His trip to the ruins of a legendary treasure temple is indefinitely postponed.
The Big Flu-bowski
The Flu abides, man.
The Sick Sense
A child psychologist thinks his patient can smell dead people. But it turns out the kid is just congested.
The Usual Symptoms
A con artist gets a sore throat and realizes that once again, he forgot to get his flu vaccine.
A friendly anthropomorphic rat cooks at a fine dining restaurant. After coming down with the flu, he briefly considers the sanitary implications but decides to keep cooking because why not, he’s a rat.
The Sound of Flu-Sick
Two hours of non-stop hacking, sniffling, coughing and sneezing, followed by a Nazi invasion.
Don’t let the flu ruin your story. Get vaccinated for just $20 at FastMed Urgent Care today. And if you’re already sick, pay us a visit. We can help you feel better faster.