5 Myths & Misconceptions of the Flu Shot

The height of flu season is just around the corner, and health professionals are urging patients to take action now to avoid getting sick later. Despite warnings that influenza can cause serious illness or death, particularly in the very young or very old, fewer than 50 percent of U.S. patients receive the vaccine each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The truth is that the flu shot is your best protection against getting sick. Here’s why you shouldn’t let these falsehoods lead you astray:

Misconception 1: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu

This is absolutely not true. The flu shot does not give you the flu. The flu vaccine is made with an inactive virus or no virus at all. The most common side effects of the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. This is typically caused by the body’s immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the body.

Some people do get a low-grade fever, a headache and some muscle aches, but those symptoms last only about one to two days and are much milder than the actual flu.

If you do get sick with the flu shortly after getting vaccinated, you were exposed to the virus before getting the shot.

Misconception 2: It’s Better to Get the Flu than the Flu Shot

Getting the flu shot is always the safer choice than getting sick with the flu virus. The flu can be a really serious illness that can lead to a hospital stay or even death, especially for young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

Misconception 3: I Don’t Need the Flu Shot Every Year

If the virus the flu shot protects against hasn’t changed from the previous season, you don’t need to get another flu shot, right? Wrong! Your immunity after vaccination declines over time, so the CDC recommends getting vaccinated every year to make sure you stay protected against the flu.

Misconception 4: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Work

You hear it all the time: someone you know got the flu shot and still got the flu. If the flu shot doesn’t work, why should you get vaccinated? Here’s why:

  • They didn’t actually have the flu. Other respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, cause symptoms similar to the flu, so they just thought they had the flu.
  • They were exposed to the flu right before getting the flu shot, so they were already sick.
  • They caught a strain of the flu virus that was very different from the virus the vaccine was designed to protect against.
  • While the vaccine typically reduces the risk of illness by 40 to 60 percent, some people who get vaccinated still get sick.

Misconception 5: The Flu Shot Could Give You a Cold

Only one study has suggested that getting the flu shot might make you susceptible to catching other respiratory illnesses. Many experts tried to replicate the results of that study but have not been able to do so. At present, there just isn’t enough evidence to suggest the flu shot makes you more susceptible to catching other respiratory illnesses.

Protect Yourself and Others

The flu is a contagious illness that might not be too serious for you – just pretty miserable for a few days – but could be pretty serious for someone you come in contact with, like a small child at the grocery store or an elderly person in the elevator. Don’t spread the flu; head to Quality First Urgent Care for your FREE flu shot today!

10 Tips For Treating A Bad Sunburn

You were out on the boat all day, you forgot to reapply sunscreen and before you knew it, you scored a nasty sunburn. Or maybe you were just mowing the lawn for an hour -– maybe it was even cloudy -– and it didn’t even cross your mind to put on sunscreen. Now you’re scorched.

Although prevention is best, if you quickly treat a sunburn, you might have a shot at minimizing the damage done to the cells. You want to help the skin repair itself as quickly as possible.

Get Out Of The Sun
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial – and something people too often don’t do. Some damage has already been done, and you don’t want to harm your skin any more. That means moving the backyard BBQ inside, calling it a day in the garden or popping up the umbrella at your patio table.

Assess The Damage
Most sunburns aren’t severe enough to send you to the ER. Even if a couple of small blisters pop up, it’s usually safe to treat the burn at home. But if you develop blisters on more than 20 percent of your body, seek medical attention immediately. You should also seek medical attention if you feel nauseous, get intense chills or run a fever.

Take A Pain Reliever
For sunburns that you can treat on your own, over-the-counter painkillers can take the edge off. If the burn’s not so bad – mainly your skin just feels a little tender – take an ibuprofen (Advil), which acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and ease pain. If you also have a headache or mild chills, go with acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Take A Cool Bath
It’s also important to cool the skin down, but skip the shower – the continual blast of water on your scorched skin will not feel good. Also skip the soap, which will dry skin out even more. Instead, add a few scoops of baking soda to your bath. It’s cooling and helps your skin retain moisture.

Use Aloe
If you’re away from home and can’t catch a bath, blot your burned body with a cold compress to draw out the heat. Or smear on aloe vera. “Aloe is a cooling agent and an anti-inflammatory,” Friedman says. Get the oozy juice straight from an aloe plant if you have one, or else use a store-bought gel.

Avoid Benzocaine And Lidocaine
When you got sunburned as a kid, your mom might have broken out the big aerosol can of Solarcaine and sprayed you down. We’re guessing it hurt like hell. That’s because it contains lidocaine, a local anesthetic that at first stings the skin, then numbs it with the end goal of cooling it down. It tends to work, but Bowe cautions against using sprays, lotions and creams with lidocaine or benzocaine (a similar chemical) because they can cause irritation and allergic reactions.

Use Lots Of Lotion
After your bath or compress cool-down, slather on lotion. But if you have any small blisters, leave those spots alone. When choosing a lotion, reach for something that is both moisturizing and hydrating so that it helps trap moisture in the skin. Look for ingredients like ceramides, glycerin or soy. Lotions that contain oatmeal, which is particularly soothing. Some fancier creams contain antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which can also help tame inflammation in the skin. But avoid creams with petroleum, because those will trap heat in your skin. Dab on small amounts of 0.5 percent or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, sold over the counter, for a day or two can relieve some discomfort.

Drink Water
Bad sunburns cause a process called vasodilation, where your blood vessels dilate and you lose water from your skin very quickly. This can lead to dehydration, fatigue and even heat stroke if not treated. Start sipping water immediately and keep drinking it to be sure you stay hydrated. Coconut water or other waters with added electrolytes can be even more effective at preventing dehydration.

Don’t Touch The Blisters
Leave it alone. Period. Picking or peeling burned skin or popping blisters can lead to permanent scarring.

Don’t Get Burned Twice
Don’t let yourself forget how much sunburn sucks. Use your current misery as motivation to get in the habit of applying broad-spectrum sunblock every day, especially through the rest of the summer. Look for one that is SPF 30 to 50, guards against both burn-causing UVB rays and wrinkle- and cancer-causing UVA rays and is water-resistant so it’ll stay put when you sweat or swim. Mineral-based blocks with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide tend to work best. Apply 15 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every two hours.

How to Fight the Bite this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and officials are reminding us as we spend more time in the outdoors, it’s important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites.

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization, and even death in some cases.

1. Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent according to label directions when outdoors and mosquitoes are biting. Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Re-apply as needed. Use nets or fans around outdoor eating areas to keep mosquitoes away. Start with a low-concentration product and re-apply if necessary. Apply repellent on your hands and then rub it on the child and never apply repellent to children’s hands or their skin under clothing.

Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. Visit Quality First Urgent Care if you develop signs of illness such as a fever, body aches and/or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite or recreating in tick habitat. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the chance of serious complications.

2. Avoiding tick-infested areas: This is especially important in May, June, and July. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges. Dogs and domestic animals can also be impacted, so using a tick preventative is recommended.

3. Using insect repellent: Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30%) or Picaridin on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

4. Bathing or showering: Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing.

5. Performing daily tick checks: Always check for ticks after being outdoors, including your animals, even in your own yard. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

If you have any questions related to mosquito, tick or bug bites of any sort, please do not hesitate to call Quality First Urgent Care 301-421-1214. Or schedule a visit HERE.

Your Local Urgent Care Explains An Ear Infection

As the weather warms up, you and the family are most likely going to be spending more time outside. This means hiking, camping, swimming, and more. The staff at Quality First Urgent Care encourages more movement and activity outdoors. However, it’s important to remember with outdoor activities comes the risk of cuts, bruises, and infections. A common infection for those who enjoy swimming often is an ear infection. So before you go to your phone and search “urgent care near me” consider the following post to determine if you actually have an infection or if you’re experiencing something more serious. Whether it’s you, your child, or you, it’s imperative you understand how you treat an ear infection so it does not worsen before you get to the local urgent care.

What is an ear infection?

Generally, ear infections cause pain. In most cases, the infection is found in the middle ear, which is the space between your eardrum and the small vibrating bones to be able to hear properly, and it’s from bacteria or a virus. Whether you have an infection or a buildup of fluids in your middle ear–it can be both–you will experience discomfort, pain, or even equilibrium issues, which means dizziness, headaches, or even the inability to walk straight.

Depending on your infection, your body will work to fight the bacteria or virus. This means the initial step is to manage or mitigate pain with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. The general approach to ear infections may change based on whether it is you, an adult, or your child who has the infection. Nonetheless, if you’re not sure what to do, you can use your phone to search “urgent care near me” or you can simply visit our team at Quality First Urgent Care.

If the pain grows to great, or you are noticing more serious effects due to the infection as mentioned above, you need to see a doctor immediately to clear up the infection.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

The symptoms of an ear infection for an adult and a child are relatively similar, but it’s important to know the difference, so you can become better at treating or preventing the infection altogether

If your child is experiencing pain while lying down, pushing, pulling, or tugging at their ear, or having difficulty sleeping, they may have an ear infection. More symptoms include irritability, crying, hearing difficulty, balance loss, high-grade fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), fluid drainage from ear, headache, or loss of appetite.

In most cases, noticing these symptoms early could prevent your child from worsening discomfort or pain. Pay attention to them after swimming or spending an abundance of time in the water.

As for adults, the symptoms are similar to children; however, the symptoms are not as pronounced. Adults are usually better at tolerating pain. They are typically less likely to pull or tug at their ears when they have an infection. Finally, they may run a fever, but it’s low-grade, meaning 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Nonetheless, if you or your spouse begins to experience inner ear pain, fluid drainage from the ear, or trouble hearing, you may be dealing with an ear infection.

When should visit an urgent care near you?

It’s a common question to ask: “Should I visit my local urgent care?” The answer depends on your infection. The infection, whether bacterial or virus based may be fought off by your body’s immune system. However, if your discomfort or pain symptoms worsen, you will want to see a doctor.

The best time to see a doctor at your local urgent care is a judgement call on your part. Nonetheless, the staff at Quality First Urgent Care are always ready to welcome you and get you the treatment you need to get back to feeling normal again.

Choose Your Local Urgent Care!

As you and your family adventure outside, take some precautionary measures to reduce the chance of ear infection. After a good swim, make sure and gently rinse out the ear with warm water. Do not use cue tips to clean out the ears, since it pushes most everything deep into your ear. Remember, if you or your child are facing intolerable pain, visit your Quality First Urgent Care to get treated.