FastMed Blog

What Do I Need to Know About the Flu?

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Confirmed cases of influenza have been seen in North Carolina as early as the beginning of September. The flu season typically lasts through March, but a few cases may pop up in June or July. Here is a quick rundown of what you need to know to keep you and your family flu-free.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Symptoms of flu usually last 5-7 days and can include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Ear Ache

Who is Most Susceptible to Flu?

According to the CDC, not only are people who smoke more likely to get the flu, smokers’ mortality rate from influenza is higher than nonsmokers. Infants, patients over 65, diabetics and people who have an autoimmune disease are more likely to get the flu. If you or someone you live with is at high risk for contracting the flu, you should take some common sense steps to prevent infection. 

How Can I Prevent the Flu?

You can protect yourself from the flu by getting your flu shot and by practicing proper hygiene like keeping your office workstation clean and washing your hands regularly. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get the flu shot when vaccines are distributed in late summer or early fall. At the very latest, you should be vaccinated by October, since flu vaccine takes roughly two weeks to begin providing full protection. 

Is There a Reason I Shouldn’t get a Flu Shot? 

There are some cases when you should not get the typical seasonal flu shot. If you have a fever over 100 degrees or are allergic to eggs, you shouldn’t get the standard vaccine. FastMed can help you seek out the best alternative flu shot method. Regardless of the type of vaccine you receive, the protection provided by the vaccine is the only sure method for preventing the flu 

Will Flu Vaccine give me the Flu?

You could feel a bit feverish or fatigued after receiving an intramuscular flu shot, but you will not actually get the flu. The vaccine is made from a dead virus, and a dead virus cannot make you sick.

If you think you may have the flu, seek help from a medical professional as soon as symptoms arise so that you can get treatment fast. FastMed can assess you for signs and symptoms of the flu and deliver a rapid diagnosis. If you do have the flu, antiviral medications can be prescribed within the first 48 hours of diagnosis. The full course of antibiotics will be taken over 7 days and can decrease viral shedding (how contagious you may be to others) and reduce the chance of further complications.

Combining Education and Exercise: Ward Elementary School's Read and Ride Program

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

The Read and Ride Program held at Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem was first developed by Scott Ertl. Ertl, who has been the counselor for 18 years, is always trying to come up with new things that can be done to help kids learn and feel better in school and in life.

Ertl started the Read and Ride Program in 2009, and explained there are two focuses for the program:

  1. To promote literacy and make reading fun for kids
    Reading can be frustrating, and the more frustrating it is, the less fun it becomes. By riding bikes while reading, the kids can stay calm and even understand more while they read. It also makes reading more fun.
  2. To prevent childhood obesity
    By participating in the Read and Ride Program, the kids at have one more opportunity to be active and exercise during the school day. 

As the school counselor, Ertl works with kids who are overweight and don’t like to participate in PE class or games at recess because they feel down about themselves. With the stationary bikes, there is no competition or last place. They can take a breather and relax for a minute with no shame about stopping. Ertl says having your own stationary bike also allows you to pace yourself, and do what you can.  

At Ward Elementary, there is a Read and Ride classroom with 30 stationary exercise bikes. Teachers can bring their class to this classroom, and allow students to Read and Ride for 10-15 minutes. This is a great outlet when the weather is bad and outside recess is not an option. The room is also used for teacher’s bonus periods, and the kids see it as a reward to Read and Ride.

In addition, Ward Elementary has stationary bikes in the corner of seven different classrooms - teachers use the classroom bikes as motivation, and the kids love it!

For more information on the Read and Ride Program, click here. For the Fast Company story and photos click here. There are many forms of active learning, including yoga balls, stand-up desks, and bouncy bands.

FastMed Supports NC Chamber 2014 Annual Health Care Conference

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

FastMed Urgent Care was proud to join the NC Chamber of Commerce as a supporting sponsor of the 2014 Health Care Conference in Durham, North Carolina October 23.

FastMed joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Novant Health, GlaxoSmithKline and others at the annual event put on the NC Chamber with notable speakers including Katie Mahoney, Executive Director, Health Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Brad Wilson, President and CEO, BCBSNC.  Aetna, GlaxoSmithKline, SAS, ActiveHealth Management, and CeiloStar were all presenters.

Sessions included the landscape of health care currently, trends, coming changes and reform including those brought on by the Affordable Care Act, delivery of health care, access, costs, the role of Accountable Care Organizations, impact of technology on modern medicine and the impact of all of these changes upon North Carolinians.

For more information on the NC Chamber of Commerce 2014 Health Care Conference click here.

Keep an Eye on Ebola, But Protect Against the Flu

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 Keep an Eye on Ebola, But Protect Against the Flu

Ebola has captured the attention of the world over the past few months, but an even more deadly virus has slipped under the radar. The current Ebola epidemic is the largest in recorded history. Though deadly in nearly 50% of all cases, less than 4,000 people have died from the virus this year. Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluid of an infected person. Flu, on the other hand, can spread through the air, and claims between 250,000 and 500,000 lives worldwide each year. 

Focus on the Facts

The death of Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, has lead to increased media coverage of Ebola. Interest in infectious diseases has become part of the recurring media cycle. The media created major news stories out of SARS in 2003, and H1N1 (also known as Swine Flu) in 2009.  

The fact that the early symptoms of Ebola and Influenza are similar is likely to only add to the hysteria as flu season begins. Fevers, headaches, and chills are common with both viruses. It's only natural to do research, given the amount of media coverage, but it is important that you remain focused on the facts. 

While the news reports may be scary, if you are a US citizen, it is extremely unlikely that you are in danger of contracting Ebola. Flu, however, is a threat. Between 5% and 20% of the US population are infected with the flu each and every year. Who is most likely to get the flu? People who don't get their annual flu shot. 

Get Your Flu Shot

Though the facts are alarming, there is no need to worry. Each year, vaccinations are developed that specifically target the strains of flu most likely to impact the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), flu season in the US can start as early as October and last until the following May, usually peaking between December and February.  

Once you've received the flu vaccine, it typically takes around two weeks to be effective, so plan to get vaccinated before the season starts. Don't wait to get your shot until you are feeling sick or a friend or family member has the flu. By then, it is likely too late to make a difference.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Getting a flu shot is quick and easy, If you live near a FastMed Urgent Care in North Carolina or Arizona, walk-ins are welcome 7 days a week. 

Interested in learning more about the Flu?

FastMed Supports Wake Education Partnership

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

FastMed Urgent Care, the largest urgent care network in North Carolina, supports the Wake Education Partnership through their inaugural Stars of Education Wednesday, October 21 at the Raleigh Marriott City Center.

Wake Education Partnership was created by the business community and Wake County Public School System to improve public education and advancement opportunities for Wake County students by supporting well-trained, highly effective teachers, principals and administrators.

The inaugural Stars of Education event is an opportunity to honor educators, businesses and community leaders who have made a positive impact and influenced improved public education for students in Wake County, North Carolina.

FastMed Urgent Care is proud to join SAS, Capstrat, BB&T, Reed Hat, Three Ships Media, PNC, ABC11, Time Warner Cable News and many other businesses in recognizing our children’s educators.

Click here for more information on the inaugural Stars of Education celebration.

Learn more about Wake Education Partnership’s Mission here.

Do I Have A Sprained Ankle? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Do I Have A Sprained Ankle? [INFOGRAPHIC]

A sprained ankle is a common sports injury, but can also happen any time a sudden twist displaces the ankle joint. Sprains often occur when wearing inappropriate shoes or walking on an uneven surface. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, 25,000 people are treated for ankle sprains every day.

3 Types of Ankle Sprains

  1. Inversion – when you sprain your ankle on the pinky toe side of the ankle.
  2. Eversion – when a sprain is on the big toe side of the ankle
  3. High ankle sprain – affects the upper part of the ankle between the foot and the shin.

How Severe is Your Ankle Sprain?

Ankle sprains are categorized into grades that define the severity of the injury.

A Grade 1 ankle sprain is characterized by ligaments that are stretched or slightly torn. Though there may be some tenderness and swelling, you should be able to put your weight on the foot without too much pain.

A Grade 2 ankle sprain means that the ligament is severely, but not completely torn. Swelling and accompanying pain is more pronounced, to the point that you may not be able to put your weight down on the foot.

A Grade 3 ankle sprain constitutes a complete tear of the ligament. Swelling and pain is likely to be severe and you won’t be able to put your weight down the foot.

Common Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain

  • Ankle Pain
  • Swelling of the Ankle
  • Possible Bruising
  • Redness
  • Warmth

Treating Your Sprained Ankle

If you have an ankle sprain, you should keep it elevated on a pillow and try to stay off of it as much as possible. A cold compress can help to reduce swelling. You may take medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen, but if pain does not improve after 5 to 7 days, you could have a more serious injury such as a fractured or broken bone.

If you have a painful ankle sprain, come to your local FastMed Urgent Care for an examination so we can help determine the grade of the sprain and the right course of treatment to get you back on your feet in no time!

Do I Have Strep Throat? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Anybody can get strep throat, but it mainly occurs in kids between the ages of 5 and 15. Most cases of strep throat happen during the school year when kids are in close contact. Strep throat is the cause of 37% of sore throats among children and 5-15% of sore throats in adults.

Strep throat is caused by bacteria, which are spread through coughing, sneezing, and shaking hands. Make sure your child knows proper hand washing techniques to avoid getting sick. Even if a child is not sick, he or she can still carry the strep throat bacteria.

So how can you tell if you or your child has strep throat?

Symptoms of Strep Throat

Symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Abdominal pain
  • Red and white patches on the tongue and tonsils

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you may have strep throat. Come to your local FastMed Urgent Care for a strep test so we can quickly find out if you are suffering from strep throat. If you do have an infection, we’ll prescribe antibiotics that will decrease the duration of the symptoms and help you recover more rapidly.

Make sure that you take the full course of antibiotics even if your symptoms go away. Sometimes strep throat can lead to kidney infection and other complications. If you have strep throat, stay hydrated, and with some help from FastMed, you’ll be back to your old routine in no time!

Winston-Salem Residents Welcome Third FastMed Clinic October 4

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

FastMed in Winston-Salem of University Parkway Opens

Local residents of north Winston-Salem are invited to the free open house event this Saturday, October 4 from 11 am to 3 pm.

Opening day, FastMed off of University Parkway will be providing:

  • FREE adult flu shots while supplies last
  • Tours of the urgent care clinic
  • Free blood pressure checks and a blood pressure tracker wallet card
  • Lunch and refreshments

FastMed Urgent Care’s newest clinic in Winston-Salem is the third FastMed location in Winston-Salem and marks the 40th FastMed clinic in North Carolina.

FastMed provides local residents convenient, walk-in access 365 days a year to treatment services including:

  • Colds, Flu and Viral Illnesses
  • Bronchitis, Pneumonia and Respiratory Illness
  • Asthma, Allergic Reactions and Dermatologic / Acne evaluations
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Fracture Evaluation (Digital X-ray)
  • Cuts, Scrapes and Burns
  • Stitches and Minor Surgery
  • School, Sports and Camp Physicals
  • Immunizations and Vaccinations (including flu shots)
  • Labs and Rapid Testing for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), Strep Throat, Pregnancy, and the Flu
  • EKGs and IV treatment

Occupational health care services include:

  • Medical Evaluations and Screenings including Department of Transportation Physicals (DOT) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Physical Exams from FMCSA certified providers
  • Drug and Alcohol Screening
  • Injury Care and Workers' Compensation

FastMed accepts all major insurance plans and offers direct-pay patients the option of a Discount Program. FastMed Urgent Care clinics hold 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. 

Located just off highway 52 exit 115, FastMed is just minutes from North Forsyth High School, SciWorks, Sara Lee Soccer Complex and Mobile Chase Golf and Country Club. Click here for directions!

Do I Have a Concussion?

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Concussion x-ray

Ouch! Whether you’ve fallen off a ladder or taken an especially hard hit during the big game, a blow to the head hurts. But how do you know when to dust yourself off and keep going or when you should go to your local FastMed Urgent Care to get treatment for a concussion? The start of football season is a great time to talk about the importance of helmets and safety practices, but concussions can happen both on and off the field.

A concussion is a traumatic injury that occurs when the brain is jarred or shaken inside the skull. Contrary to popular myth, you can have a concussion without losing consciousness. In fact, there may not be any outward physical signs that you have suffered from a concussion. Symptoms can appear right after an injury, or may not become apparent for days or even weeks. They generally fall into one of four categories:

Cognitive – This includes difficulty thinking clearly and remembering new information, trouble concentrating, and a general sense that you aren’t as quick on the uptake lately. These symptoms may be more easily recognized by others than by the person who is concussed. You may ask the same question multiple times without realizing that you’ve already been given that information. If other people point out that you seem to be having trouble remembering things, don’t be offended; get checked out immediately.

Physical – Of course, if you’ve knocked your head, you’re probably going to have a headache. But if you notice changes to your vision or balance, feel dizzy or nauseous, or begin vomiting, you should see a doctor. Other physical symptoms include a lack of energy and sensitivity to light and noise.

Emotional – Someone who has had a concussion can have emotional symptoms, as well. You may feel angry, irritable, upset, or simply be more emotional in general. You might be prone to bursts of unexplained sadness, or feelings of nervousness or anxiety.

Sleep-Related – A concussion can alter your sleep patterns. Note anything that is different from your usual routine, whether you’re finding it more difficult to fall asleep, sleeping more than usual, or sleeping less.

If you have any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:

  • Multiple episodes of vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds
  • A worsening headache
  • Changes in speech, such as slurring
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils or pupils of unequal size

Concussions are relatively common, and most people recover quickly with treatment. If you’ve suffered a blow to the head, take it easy for a few days. Concussions are not restricted to football and hockey players. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common reasons for traumatic brain injury-related visits to the emergency room are bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer. If you’ve suffered a blow to the head while playing sports, FastMed recommends following up for further evaluation prior to returning to the field.  Even though you might feel better, your brain has been injured and needs time to heal. At FastMed Urgent Care, we see all kinds of bumps, bruises, concussions, and contusions, and we can get you on the fast track to feeling better.

USA Today Report, CDC: Fewer Than Half in USA Get Flu Shots

0 Comment(s) | | by Reuel Heyden |

USA Today reported that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced less than half of Americans get their flu shot. Click here for the original USA Today article from the CDC announcement: Fewer than half in USA get flu shots, CDC says

In the announcement CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden shared the following statistics and information:

  • In 2013 only 46% of Americans got their flu shot:
    • 34% of adults ages 18 to 64
    • 50% of pregnant women
    • 55% of children ages 5 to 17
    • 65% of those age 65 and over
    • 70% of kids under age 5
    • 90% of doctors and nurses
  • The flu hospitalizes about 200,000 people a year
  • CDC is calling for senior citizens to get a second type of vaccine against pneumococcus, a bacteria that can cause pneumonia and that hospitalizes about 50,000 Americans a year
  • CDC recommends a flu shot for all pregnant women at any point in pregnancy

FastMed Urgent Care has launched its 2014-2015 annual statewide “Protect your family and yourself. Get the flu shot.” campaign, encouraging Arizonians and North Carolinians to combat the flu through a three step process: prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The campaign is designed to educate Arizonians and North Carolinians on the importance of receiving the flu vaccine and preventing the spread of the flu. Visit for more information.