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Zika Virus Causes and Symptoms


Zika Virus Infection and Treatment

In February, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency. Although this is the first major outbreak of the virus, scientists have known about it since it was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947. Worrisome and widespread reports linking the virus to cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome have left many people anxious to learn more about the disease and how to prevent it. The best way to stay safe is to stay informed; here are six things you should know about Zika virus.

  1. Zika virus is not fatal. The World Health Organization states that there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people “very rarely die of Zika.” Hospitalization rates are very low as well.

  2. Zika symptoms are mild, if you have any. The CDC estimates that 80% of people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms. The body simply recovers, and a person who has been infected is likely to be protected from infection in the future. If you do have symptoms such as fever, rash, or joint or muscle pain, it’s likely to be fairly mild and last for several days to a week.

  3. Zika is primarily caused by mosquitoes, but can also be spread through sexual contact. The vast majority of Zika virus transmissions occur when an infected mosquito bites a human. However, a man who has been bitten by an infected mosquito can spread the virus to his sex partners. There have also been a few reported cases of transmission through blood transfusions.

  4. A small Zika outbreak that involves 4 people was confirmed in Florida in late July of  2016 and marks the first time the virus has been transmitted via infected mosquitos within the continental US. Over 1,650 people in the US have been diagnosed with Zika virus so far, with the vast majority contracting the disease while traveling abroad.

  5. Unless you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you have very little to worry about. The most troubling issue is Zika’s potential link to birth defects like microcephaly. If you contract Zika and you are not pregnant, you may just feel under the weather for a few days. Rest, drink plenty of water, and take some aspirin if you’re in pain. You should be fine in a week or less.

  6. If you are pregnant, avoid areas of active Zika transmission. If you’re a pregnant woman planning a vacation to Aruba, Jamaica, Mexico, or any of these countries, you may want to reconsider your travel arrangements. Recently the CDC has also advised pregnant women against traveling to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami as well. The Zika virus can be passed on to an unborn child, and there is evidence of a link between Zika and some birth defects.

How to Avoid Zika Virus Causes and Symptoms

The best way for everyone to avoid Zika causes and symptoms is to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The mosquitoes who carry this virus can live indoors or outdoors, and they are often found near standing water like animal water bowls, buckets, or still ponds. They are active during the daytime as well as at night. Take the following precautions to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent. Insect repellent is safe, and it’s the best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Read the directions thoroughly. If you have sensitive skin, spray repellent on your clothes or look for products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, which may be less irritating.

  • Make your home unfriendly to mosquitoes. Don’t leave your windows or doors open without a screen, and dump water out of any containers that aren’t in use.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. You can even tuck your pants into your socks, which will help prevent bites from ticks and other bugs as well. If it’s hot out, stick with cotton or linen clothes. They’re breathable and won’t leave you sweaty.

The CDC is a great source of information about Zika virus causes and symptoms, and you can always call your local FastMed Urgent Care if you’re concerned. Mosquitoes carry many viruses, so you should always protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellant when you’re spending time outside. The Zika virus outbreak is scary, but the vast majority of people will never experience any symptoms of this disease. Remember, the best way to protect yourself from any illness is by educating yourself about the symptoms and causes and taking steps to avoid them.

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated

Just like any medication, vaccinations can cause side effects that should be taken into consideration before adults and children get them. For most people, vaccines are extremely safe and a necessary part of preventing diseases. However, some people (specifically those with compromised immune systems or certain allergies) should consult a medical professional before getting vaccinated.

Note: While there has been negative press about certain vaccines causing autism in children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there is no link between autism and vaccines

Common Vaccines and Who Should Avoid Them

Although vaccines are a safe and effective method of disease prevention, certain people should speak with a medical professional before getting vaccinated. Below is a list of common vaccines for both children and adults, as well as an explanation of who is at risk for developing vaccine-related complications.nurse administering a shot

Influenza Vaccine

The influenza vaccine (also known as the flu shot) is developed twice a year to help protect against the flu. The following individuals should consult a medical professional before getting the influenza vaccination:

  • Anyone with severe, life-threatening allergies
  • Anyone who has ever had Guilliain-Barré Syndrome
  • Anyone who is feeling sick

Tetanus Vaccine

The Td (or adult tetanus) vaccine is typically administered to adults who did not receive the tetanus vaccine as a child. Over a 7 to 12 month period, one would receive a three-vaccine combination. The first would be the Tdap vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. The next two doses protect against tetanus and diphtheria, respectively.

Those who should not receive the Td vaccine includ:

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous tetanus or diphtheria vaccine dose
  • Anyone who has had severe pain or swelling after a tetanus or diphtheria vaccine
  • Anyone who suffers from seizures or other nervous system problems

Consult a medical professional about any allergies before scheduling a Td vaccine.

Hepatitis A and B Vaccines

Hepatitis A and B are both diseases that cause inflammation of the liver. Typically, you will have the option to get two separate vaccines or a combination vaccine that protects against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. The following people are at a higher risk of developing vaccine side effects:

  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine components
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the hepatitis A or B vaccine
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Anyone who is severely allergic to yeast

Other common vaccines include:

For a complete list of vaccines and who should not be vaccinated, see the CDC’s guide to vaccines and immunizations.

If you have concerns about recently received or upcoming vaccinations, or simply need to get vaccinated, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care. We offer walk-in flu shots and certain vaccines 7 days a week, making it easy for you and your family to get the care you need at a time that works best for you.

Don’t forget to contact your local FastMed Urgent Care to confirm vaccine availability before you arrive.

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Web MD:

Should I Send My Child to School With Diarrhea?

Upset stomach and diarrhea are extremely common in children of all ages and can be due to a variety of causes. When deciding whether or not to send your child to school with diarrhea, you should always use your best judgement. But as a rule of thumb, if your child feels sick and has diarrhea, it is best to keep them home and monitor their symptoms.  

Diarrhea in Children: When to Stay Home from Schoolsick boy on the couch

Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Infections caused by viruses (such as gastroenteritis) parasites, and bacteria (such as salmonella)
  • Medications including laxatives and antibiotics. If your child is taking medication, check the label for potential side effects.
  • Food poisoning caused by eating contaminated food. Symptoms usually occur quickly after eating and last around 24 hours.
  • Food allergies such as lactose or gluten allergies

Diarrhea can be tough for kids to deal with at school and can be a sign that your child has a contagious infection. To prevent teachers and other kids at your child’s school from getting sick, it is best to keep them home for at least 24 hours.

When to Take Your Child to a Medical Professional

Diarrhea in children usually gets better after a few days. However, you should take your child to see a medical professional as soon as possible if he or she:

  • Has a rash
  • Has bloody stool
  • Has stomach pain for more than 2 hours
  • Is vomiting bloody green or yellow fluid
  • Has a fever over 105° F or is under age 6 months with a fever over 100.4° F
  • Is dehydrated
  • Is very sick
  • Has had diarrhea for more than 3 days
  • Is younger than 6 months of age

The medical professionals at FastMed Urgent Care are available 7 days a week to provide you and your family with fast, quality medical care. Our clinics open early and close late, meaning you can bring your child in to be seen before the start of work or school.

If you are concerned about your child’s diarrhea, don’t send them to school, bring them to one of FastMed’s convenient locations instead.  

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Symptoms of Heat Stroke and Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, is not only dangerous, it can be a killer. Everyone is susceptible, and understanding the most common symptoms is usually the best way to avoid this preventable medical emergency.

Here is a look at common heat-related illnesses, as well as what to do if you believe someone is in danger of heat stroke.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?man running in the heat

When the body experiences high temperatures for a prolonged period of time, it loses its natural ability to cool. What starts as cramping can lead to heat exhaustion, which is the precursor to heat stroke — a potentially life-threatening condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following list of symptoms for heat-related illnesses:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

Who is at Risk?

Though anyone exposed to high temperatures for an unsafe length of time can suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, there are certain individuals who are at greater risk. These include the elderly, people taking blood pressure medications, infants, and children.

For this reason, you should never leave an infant or child inside a hot automobile. According to, 38 children a year die from heat-related illnesses as a result of being left in hot cars.

When to See a Medical Professional

If symptoms of heat stroke appear, seek immediate medical attention!

Treatment for heat exhaustion typically includes moving the patient into the shade or air conditioning, giving the patient water, removing bulky clothing, allowing the patient to recline, and sponging the patient with water. Usually the patient is monitored until symptoms subside.

FastMed Provides Quick, Convenient Care

At FastMed Urgent Care, our mission is to positively impact the lives of our patients and their families.

Whether you or someone you love is suffering from a heat-related illness or other non-emergency condition, the medical professionals at FastMed are dedicated to providing affordable and compassionate treatment. We try to have patients in and out of our office promptly, with the medical care they need.

We also offer a self-pay Discount Program and accept most major health insurance providers, including Medicaid and Medicare.

Looking for more information about FastMed? Check out our FAQ page, or like us on Facebook.

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How to Know if You Pulled a Muscle

It doesn’t take overly strenuous exercise to pull a muscle. A muscle pull, also called a muscle strain, can happen with everyday movements of your arms, legs, shoulders, neck, and back.

Is it a Pulled Muscle?

While a muscle pull is not serious and will heal itself over time, identifying a pulled muscle can help you apply the proper treatment and expedite the healing process. Here’s what to look for:

sports player being stretched


The pain brought on by a pulled muscle is not sharp and intense but rather a dull, aching pain that is noticed even more when flexing, moving, or applying pressure to the muscle.


A pulled muscle can sometimes feel tender to the touch. It may also feel like there is a tight “knot” in the muscle.


Range of motion is often restricted with a pulled muscle. You may not be able to fully straighten or extend your arm or leg.


Most muscle pulls don’t produce any visual symptoms, but a more severe muscle pull can result in the skin appearing swollen or red. Muscles that are pulled hard enough to tear apart their fibers can cause internal bleeding that produces bruising on the surface of the skin.

Treating a Pulled Muscle

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of a muscle pull. And once a muscle pull is suffered, there are some things you can do to speed up the recovery process. Pulled muscles can be treated using the RICE method. RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compress and elevate.

Pulled muscles need rest and physical activity should, therefore, be limited. Use an ice pack on the muscle for 20 minutes at a time several times throughout the day. Use an elastic bandage to wrap the muscle for a snug (but not too tight) compression. Whenever possible, keep the pulled muscle elevated on a pillow or in a sling.

If your injured muscle doesn’t feel better after a few days of home treatment, consider visiting your local FastMed Urgent Care to have it examined by one of our medical professionals. What feels like a pulled muscle can sometimes be a torn muscle or worse.

At FastMed, we accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Come see why so many of our patients are happy with their experiences at FastMed. Find a FastMed near you!

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Web MD:


Symptoms Middle Ear Infection

The symptoms of a middle ear infection can appear quickly and vary slightly between children and adults. It is also worth noting that children are more likely to have ear infections than adults, with one in four children experiencing an ear infection by the time they reach 10 years-old.

Children’s symptoms can include:

  • Ear pain, particularly when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling sensation on the ear
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive crying
  • Excessive irritability
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Balance loss
  • Fever (100° F or higher)woman with headache
  • Fluid drainage from ear
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Adult symptoms are fewer than those of children, but can include:
  • Ear ache or pain
  • Fluid drainage from ear
  • Hearing loss

If you or your child experience any of the following, go to your local FastMed Urgent Care immediately:

  • Symptoms that last longer than one day
  • Symptoms that are experienced by a child less than six months old
  • Severe ear pain
  • Infant or toddler cannot sleep or is irritable after fighting a cold or upper-respiratory infection
  • Active draining of fluid, pus, or discharge from the ear

What Causes Ear Infections?

Ear infections can occur after the common cold, flu, or other upper-respiratory infections that cause a buildup of fluid in the middle ear. This buildup results in a blocked or swollen Eustachian tube (the thin tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose) and can lead to hearing problems and dizziness. Additionally, an enlarged adenoid (soft tissue found in the back of the throat) can also cause a blocked Eustachian tube.

Treating Middle Ear Infections

There are a number of treatments a medical professional can recommend based on the severity of the infection, your or your child’s tolerance to antibiotics, and your specific preferences. For mild to moderate middle ear infections, they may recommend a pain reliever to treat the symptoms until they go away.

If you or your child are experiencing the symptoms of an ear infection, visit your nearest FastMed to get treated today. At FastMed Urgent Care, our mission is to positively impact the lives of our patients and their families. We strive to see our patients promptly, and we offer flexible weekday and weekend hours to meet your needs.

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Chest Congestion Causes

Chest congestion is the tightness or heaviness you experience in your chest caused by an infection. These infections can be a result of a number of conditions that range from moderate to severe and include, but are not limited to, the following: the common cold, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and congestive heart failure.

Signs and Symptoms of Chest Congestionwoman with chest congestion

The most notable sign of chest congestion is the feeling of tightness in your chest that can come with pain or wheezing. Some additional symptoms that may accompany your chest congestion include:

  • Feeling like you need to cough
  • Coughing up phlegm from the lungs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A gurgling sound emanating from lungs after a deep breath
  • Fever
  • General fatigue
  • Labored breathing

Treating Chest Congestion Based on the Cause

Although chest congestion can usually be treated at home, the infection that causes it may require the care of a medical professional. There are several remedies you can try at home to soothe your congestion and break up or dissolve mucus.

  • Gargle warm water, 1-2 tablespoons of salt, and a pinch of turmeric.
  • Take a hot shower and breathe in the warm steam.
  • Keep your head elevated above your torso when resting or sleeping.
  • Place hot pack or hot towel on your throat and chest.
  • Use a humidifier when sleeping or resting.
  • Stay hydrated with water, hot tea, or sports drinks.
  • Take medicine specifically for chest congestion and avoid suppressants.

If your chest congestion hasn’t cleared up even after treating it, seek medical attention as soon as possible, as this may be the result of a much larger underlying issue.

Visit your nearest FastMed Urgent Care to find the true cause of your chest congestion today. To find out more about how FastMed is helping in your community, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Broken Rib Treatment

The treatment for a broken rib is simple: it can heal on its own with proper rest, but can take approximately six weeks to completely heal. In the meantime, you may experience a significant amount of pain, which can be remedied with pain relievers and by icing the affected area. In more serious cases, medical attention may be required.

Causes of Broken, Fractured, and Bruised Ribs

Rib injuries are most commonly caused by chest trauma, as a result of  motor vehicle accidents, contact sports collisions, or falling. Ribs can also be bruised from severe coughing.

Fractured (or cracked) ribs are as painful as fully broken ribs, but they aren’t as dangerous. The jagged edge of a broken rib can damage major blood vessels or internal organs, if not properly treated.

broken ribs

How to Tell If Your Ribs Are Broken

If you’ve experienced trauma to your upper torso or chest area, pay attention to the pain you feel when you breathe in. A fractured, broken, or bruised rib can feel very painful when breathing in, which may result in taking shallow breaths.

When this happens, it’s important to work through this pain and continue taking deep breaths or breathing regularly. Continuous shallow breathing can result in the development of serious chest infections, such as pneumonia.

You may also notice swelling and tenderness around your chest or develop bruising on the skin of the area.

Treating Your Broken Ribs at Home

In most cases, ribs are excellent at healing themselves. However, during your recovery time, it’s important that you get adequate rest and tend to the pain to optimize healing. This includes:

  • Taking ibuprofen or paracetamol pain relievers regularly.
  • Using an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling around your chest.
  • Resting when needed, which means  taking time off work if your job involves physical labor.
  • Staying mobile when not resting, which can help your breathing and clear mucus from your lungs.
  • Holding a pillow to your chest when you need to cough.
  • Practicing breathing exercises to keep your lungs clear.

If you’re experiencing extreme pain or your ribs haven’t healed after six weeks, visit a medical professional. FastMed Urgent Care offers affordable and compassionate care, and our healthcare professionals strive to see each of our patients promptly, making your visit as fast as possible.

Find a FastMed near you to get the care you need for your injured ribs.

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Can Bad Sunburns Make You Sick

While sunburns and flu-like symptoms are seemingly unrelated, the two actually go hand in hand. Bad sunburns (often called sun poisoning) don’t just cause painful red skin, they can also make you sick.  Learn more about the symptoms of sun poisoning and how to tell if your flu-like symptoms are due to sunburn or something else.

Sunburn or Sun Poisoning?

We’ve all experienced red, painful sunburns, but how do you know when a normal sunburn has crossed the threshold into sun poisoning?

A regular sunburn will be red, hot, and painful, but the symptoms normally stop there. When you have sun poisoning, you will experience red, painful skin, along with other symptoms, including:

  • Blistersperson with bad blistering sunburn
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tingling
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration


Sun Poisoning Treatment and When to See a Medical Professional

Bad sunburns can typically be treated at home with these easy methods:

  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Apply a cool compress to the area or take a cool shower.
  • Drink extra water.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain.
  • Use a moisturizer that contains aloe.

However, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of sun poisoning, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. They will be able to rule out any other causes, check for infection, and provide you with more treatment options.

Preventing Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning can be easily prevented if you take the proper precautions to avoid getting sunburned. Before you head outside, remember to:

  • Put on sunscreen. You should cover any exposed skin with sunscreen.
  • Cover up. Wear a hat and UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Mind your time. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have to be outside during that time, don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.

FastMed Urgent Care is open 7 days a week to provide you with fast treatment for non life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

At FastMed Urgent Care, our mission is to positively impact the lives of our patients and their families. Find a FastMed near you today.

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Can Heat Stroke Cause Diarrhea

For many people, warm weather means spending less time indoors and more time outside enjoying the sunshine. But too much time in the sun isn’t always fun and games and can sometimes result in heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, headache, seizures, and even death, so it is important that you are able to recognize the signs before your next outdoor adventure.

Heat-Related Illnesses: Rash, Cramps, Exhaustion, and Strokewomen experiencing the first stage of heat exhaustion leading to heat stroke

There are four forms of heat-related illnesses you should be concerned about when spending time in the sun.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and occurs when the body can no longer regulate its own temperature. Symptoms typically include:

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating
  • High body temperature.

Heat exhaustion is the second-most severe form of heat-related illness and occurs with the body loses too much salt and water. Symptoms typically include:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms (usually in the stomach, arms, or legs) that occur when the body loses water and salt due to sweating. Heat cramps are less severe than heat stroke and heat exhaustion, but should be monitored closely.

Heat rash is the least severe form of heat-related illness, and happens when sweat doesn't evaporate from the skin. Heat rash causes clusters of red bumps to appear on the skin.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

Heat rash and heat cramps, although less severe than stroke or exhaustion, should be monitored closely. If you have heat rash or heat cramps, you should get out of the heat and move to a cooler environment. You should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and if the symptoms do not get better after a few hours, visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know are experiencing any symptoms of heat exhaustion, get out of the heat immediately and cool off with water and ice packs. If the symptoms to not go away after an hour, visit the emergency room immediately.

If you or someone you know begins to experience any of the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 immediately. If you can, try to move to a shady area, remove outer clothing, and drink water until an ambulance arrives.

For non life-threatening heat-related illness, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care for prompt treatment. To help make healthcare more affordable, we offer a self-pay Savings Plan and accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

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