Five Tips to Help Fight Allergy Symptoms

People who suffer from seasonal allergies are bracing for what is expected to be an early and long allergy season. They know that scratchy eyes and drippy noses are about to make an appearance. They are waiting, with tissues in hand, for the season to pass and their symptoms to subside.

While proper medical treatment offers long-term care and comfort to those who battle seasonal allergies, there are also easy lifestyle changes that can help people who are living with allergies reduce their symptoms. In fact, AFC doctors have identified five tips for people with allergies that can help reduce their symptoms.

As long as people with allergies are being exposed to allergy triggers, they will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms. Reducing the impact of symptoms is crucial to helping seasonal allergy sufferers feel better this spring. If you find yourself sniffling at this time of year, start changing your habits in these five areas to increase your comfort and reduce your allergy symptoms.

While breaking these habits can help to reduce the impact of allergies, your local AFC Urgent Care doctor can also help you find long-term comfort and relief. At this time of year, a runny nose that simply won’t go away could be caused by an allergy, so be sure to walk-in and have your symptoms evaluated so that you can find the relief you need.

Sports Medicine Specialists - Keeping Active People Healthy and Happy

In a specialized area of medicine that requires a significant amount of advanced training in both the treatment and prevention of injury, a Sports Medicine Specialist can often help patients minimize the effects of a debilitating injury. With a goal of reducing an individual’s time away from work, sports or other physical activities, the services that a Sports Medicine Specialist performs ultimately helps keep people healthy, happy and doing the things in life they enjoy.

Common Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries: Ankle Sprains, Muscle Strains, Stress Fractures, Knee & Shoulder Injuries, Tendinitis

Becoming a Sports Medicine Specialist and holding a certification can be a rigorous process that requires two years of training at an accredited program in addition to a medical degree. And since diagnosis and treatment techniques are constantly progressing, there are also numerous continuing education activities and recertification requirements to keep practitioners up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of Sports Medicine.

A Sports Medicine Specialist differs from an Orthopedic Surgeon in that they do not provide operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Although surgery can sometimes be the right course of treatment for a sports injury, 90% of all musculoskeletal injuries do not require surgery. And since both of these specialized fields require the same training in musculoskeletal medicine, a Sports Medicine Specialist can often be a more easily accessible resource in providing the same diagnosis and treatment options for an injury. They can also provide referrals to necessary therapies and can expedite referrals to an Orthopedic Surgeon if necessary.

Common Non-Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries: Concussions, Asthma, Diet & Nutritional Issues, Performance Issues

Sports Medicine Specialists often partner with local, state and federal policy makers to develop safety regulations for their communities. The field of Sports Medicine has also gained national attention recently by working to help develop legislation regarding concussions and cardiac arrest, in an effort to reduce risk for athletes.

In an order to better serve the demands of active residents in the Portland area, AFC Urgent Care has two Certified Sports Medicine Specialists on staff to provide expert medical care.  Although any AFC clinic can help diagnose and treat a sports related injury in an emergency, these two certified Sports Medicine Specialists can help provide ongoing treatment and rehabilitation options that get patients back to 100% as soon as possible.

So next time you find yourself with a sprain, a strain or any other type of musculoskeletal injury that is keeping you from living your life or doing the things you enjoy, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Seeing a specialist can be faster and more convenient than you think.

Allergies - Your Guide to Understanding and Managing Symptoms

It might seem like a cold at first, but with over half (54.6%) of U.S. residents estimated to test positive for at least one or more allergens, that stuffy nose might actually be allergies. Since it can be hard to tell, here’s what you need to know about seasonal allergies, and what can be done to reduce or eliminate your symptoms this year.

Question: What is an allergy?

Answer: An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to an inappropriate stimulus, such as dust, food, medication, pet dander, mold…and often in the Springtime pollens, grasses and weeds. The immune system believes it is being invaded by a parasite rather than a harmless allergen in the environment, and therefore it rallies its defenses to fight off the enemy.

Common Symptoms of Allergies Include Congestion, Sneezing, Runny nose, Itchy nose and Eye redness, itchiness and watering.

Although many individuals only have occasional or seasonal allergies, some people may suffer from year-round issues. The best way to find out what you’re dealing with for sure, is to have a medical professional conduct a complete examination of your sinuses, ears and throat. This can help rule out any non-allergy related issues like infection.

A recent study determined 50% of homes had at least six detectable allergens present.

Question: What do I do if it is determined that I have an allergy?

Answer: Fortunately, there are a variety of applicable treatment options that can help reduce and even end allergic reactions. Some of the more common options are over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal decongestants. But there are also physician prescribed options that may be better for some individuals.

Five Tips to Help Fight Allergy Symptoms - Link

Tips to help reduce effects of seasonal allergies.

  • Avoid going outside when pollen levels are highest – usually morning hours (5am – 10am).
  • Keep doors, windows and vents closed in your home and use air conditioning.
  • Do not go near freshly cut grass, or areas where lawns are being mowed.
  • Change clothing often and shower if you are outside regularly.

Keep an eye on pollen levels near you with the National Allergy Map.

Whether it’s because they have become accustomed to the symptoms of allergies, or they have the misconception that treatment options are inconvenient, many people do not seek out medical treatment for their symptoms. But, generally affordable treatment options, many individuals that suffer from allergies can drastically improve the quality of their lives.

Despite suffering, 25% of people do not seek out testing and treatment.

Make an appointment online today, or call (503) 305-6262 to schedule a quick and painless allergy exam and testing at an AFC clinic near you.

Asking "How do I find an urgent care near me?"

Get tips and tricks to help you locate urgent care clinics near you.

Even with today's technology, it can sometimes be difficult to get the right information, right when we need it. And people using the internet to search for "urgent care locations near me" usually need the most accurate information right away. To help you get the best information right when you need it, here are some tips and tools to help.

If you're performing a search for urgent care clinics online, be sure to include the name of the location in your search for the most accurate results. Ex: Try searching for "phoenix urgent care" or "urgent care near phoenix"...if you are in Phoenix, AZ...instead of using the less specific search of "urgent care" or "urgent care near me". Although Google often provides results that are relative to your IP address (location), it never hurts to provide more info.

If you are performing a similar search with mapping software or mobile apps, you can skip the previous recommendation of including a location, and simply search for "urgent care" or "walk in clinic". This should dot your map with any businesses that are listed or registered as urgent care clinics near your current location. 

Although there are many online directories with a national database of urgent care clinics, the information in them can sometimes be out-of-date. And although some contact information may be incorrect, they can still give you a good idea as to whether or not an urgent care clinic is near your location. Two of the more helpful online resources are:

Urgent Care Locations -  The Find Urgent Care Near Me page on Urgent Care Locations allows users to enter their zip code and view a comprehensive list of most urgent care locations near them. User Tip: The map only shows the clinic locations that are displayed in list to the left of the map. To map and view additional locations on the map, scroll down and select the next page. Scrolling through the different pages of results will update the map with additional urgent care locations.  

UrgentCare.com - Although UrgentCare.com also has an Urgent Care Clinics Near You page that allows you to search by city name or zip code, they also have an easy-to-use Directory page that allows you to search by clicking on a state map. Just click on the state you're in, then drag and zoom in until you have the map set near your current location. This is a fast way to visually see all of the nearby urgent care locations on a street map.

Although AFC Urgent Care doesn't have a presence in every state, they do have a location and mapping tool that will easily allow you to find out if there is an AFC clinic near you.

Look For An AFC Urgent Care Near You

February is American Heart Month. Do You Have a Healthy Heart?

February is American Heart Month, which strives to educate Americans about the dangers of heart disease and the steps that you can take to minimize its risk. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, as about one-out-of-four deaths can be attributed to heart disease each year. 

While the heart naturally ages and weakens, you can significantly slow down this process and improve the wellness of your heart by following the steps below:

Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption

While red meat is undoubtedly delicious, it's not necessarily the most healthy of delicacies. In fact, the consumption of red meat triggers a negative chain reaction in the stomach from the nutrient called carnitine that has been linked to the development of heart disease. Instead of having steak on a weekly basis, save it for special occasions - your bank account will be happy too!

Quit Smoking

Quitting tobacco products is no cake walk. However, this process can be manageable if you work to avoid certain triggers. These "triggers" are activities, hobbies or consumables that may go hand-in-hand with your smoking habit. This may include drinking alcohol or coffee, staying up late, or going out at night. You may also want to temporarily avoid friends or coworkers who smoke while they're smoking. By removing these triggers from your life, it will be easier to quit smoking. Whether you choose to go cold turkey or use anti-smoking products designed to help you quit is your choice!

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

As many know, a glass of wine each night is not the worst thing in the world, as evidence even illustrates that it may even be good for your health. Yet, consuming too much alcohol can create a world of problems, including negative effects on your heart. In addition to the empty calories, alcohol also increases your blood pressure, which has a direct link to causing heart disease. Hard alcohol and beer are therefore best saved for special (or no) occasions. 

Exercise Daily

Exercising every single day of the week may seem like a daunting task to suddenly implement into your busy schedule. But exercising daily doesn't necessarily mean you have to go to the gym every night after work. There are a number of small and easy steps that you can take to exercise. Walk or bike to work instead of driving or taking public transit. Even skipping the elevator at your work to take the stairs counts. If you have a dog, don't just let them outside, take them for an adventure and go hiking. Your dog will love it and your heart will too!

Visit Your Doctor

The first step in improving your heart's health is simply knowing your heart's current health. Before you begin biking to work every day or starting a radical new diet, visit us at AFC Urgent Care, where we can advise you on what activities you're healthy enough to do. We can additionally measure your blood pressure and cholesterol, and prescribe any necessary medication if you have a heart condition. 

Our primary care team will provide you with a thorough medical exam that will set you on the right path in maximizing your heart's potential. We offer primary care 7 days a week and accept the majority of health insurance plans, which establishes our center as the most convenient, affordable and accessible primary care destination in NE Portland, NW Portland, Beaverton and Lake Oswego, OR!

This Valentine's Day, Share The Love, Not The Germs

This Valentine’s Day, show your loved one you care by sharing your love, not your germs. Date nights are no fun if you both end up getting sick, so here are some tips for keeping you (and your date) healthy this Valentine’s Day.

If You’re Sick, Postpone

It may put a damper on your plans, but if you or your date are sick, do both of you a favor and postpone! Valentine’s Day may be on the 14th, but it can be celebrated any time. Instead of trying to go out while you're sick, stay home, recover and make plans to celebrate your love another night. In fact, hotels, restaurants and popular date locations are typically jam-packed and are more expensive on Valentine’s Day — by postponing you’ll likely dodge the crowds and have a more enjoyable time.

Have a Cold? Keep a Healthy Distance

If you are unable to cancel your plans, try your best to enjoy your evening — just remember to do your best to keep your date from getting sick, too. Give your partner a little bit of space, and keep your germs to yourself. Reduce the spread of germs by coughing into your elbow, washing your hands frequently and avoid sharing food or drinks.

Stay Healthy 

If you are worried about getting sick before your upcoming date night, there are a few things you can do to try to stay healthy. Many sicknesses can be avoided simply by taking a few simple precautionary steps:

  1. Get Your Flu Shot. Getting a flu shot is the number one thing you can do for yourself to prevent the flu.
  2. Avoid people who are sick. Flu and cold germs are easily transmitted between people in close proximity, so avoid the risk whenever possible.
  3. Seek medical advice when you feel sick. Don’t try to “tough it out”! If you are presenting symptoms of a severe cold or the flu, don’t hesitate to head to your nearest urgent care. The doctors there can help you feel better faster by giving you a correct diagnosis for your illness and suggesting the appropriate treatment.

Sometimes despite preventative measure, sickness still sets in. When that happens, don’t ignore the symptoms, get help from the professionals at AFC Urgent Care. To find a location near you, visit AFCUrgentcarePortland.com.

Did You Know That We Provide Occupational Health Services?

With a team of board-certified physicians coming from a diverse set of medical backgrounds, our clinics have the ability to offer a wide range of occupational health services. AFC Urgent Care Portland serves a number of Portland's biggest employers, helping their businesses operate both safer and more efficiently.

AFC clinics offer the following occupational health services:

Drug & Alcohol Testing

The purpose of drug and alcohol testing isn't to catch employees off-guard. The point is to establish a safe, productive and drug-free culture within the workplace. Our drug testing services can be either pre-employment testing or random testing. Pre-employment drug testing helps filter out potential hires with a pre-existing drug habit, which has proven to help businesses employ a team of more productive, ethical and healthier employees.

Workers’ Compensation

Injuries at the workplace happen. Even with the most precautionary measures in place, accidents are just about impossible to avoid. That’s why it’s important for your business to have a go-to plan for when the next injury occurs at your workplace. Our center offers prompt evaluation and treatment for a variety of workplace injuries, meaning you can skip the ER and receive care faster and at a lower cost.

Flu Vaccination Clinics

When Flu season is underway, AFC Urgent Care can provide on-site flu vaccination clinics right at your business. Every year, we help Portland area businesses keep their employees healthy and happy with quick and affordable flu vaccinations that won't disrupt day-to-day business. We also administer several other immunizations and vaccines at our clinics.

Physical Examinations

To ensure your employees and potential hires are fit for the job, we provide companies with physical examinations for their employees, ranging from pre-employment physicals, DOT Physicals to annual physicals.

For more information about our occupational health services, visit our Occupational Health services page or call us at (503) 305-6262. We look forward to helping your business and safer and more efficiently!

benefits of employee wellness

Signs Your Child Has the Flu

Coughing, sore throat and fever, oh my! Your child is definitely sick, but with what? The cold and flu viruses can often be tricky for parents to tell apart because many of the symptoms are the same, but there are several signs that your child has more than just a cold. Here's what to look for:

Fever

If your child has the flu, it will often be accompanied by a high fever. A child with a cold is more likely to have only a mild fever, or no fever at all. If your child has a fever of 102 F or higher, or if your baby has a fever of 100.4 F or higher, seek medical help immediately.

Chills

Your child will most likely have chills if he or she has a fever. The common cold is much less likely to produce this symptom.

Head and Muscle Aches

One of the most common indicators of the flu is the presence of head and body aches. If your child has the flu, he or she will experience muscle soreness and pain, and likely headaches as well.

Flu Season CheckupFatigue

No one is ever high-energy when they're sick, but the flu comes with very noticeable and severe exhaustion that isn't present with the common cold. Your child will feel too weak to do much more than sleep or watch TV.

If you think your child has the flu, there are certain things you can do to help. First and foremost, assess the situation and determine if medical help is needed. If your child is younger than 5 or has a long-term health condition, you should seek medical help as soon as possible as these groups are at risk for serious complications from the flu. However, a child of any age with severe flu-like symptoms should be seen by a medical professional.

If your child does have the flu or even a severe cold it's important to make sure he or she gets plenty of rest and drinks plenty of fluids. If your child's sore throat is too sensitive for cold water, broth or sports drinks are a good alternative. Your child should be kept home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, without the help of fever-reducing medication, except to receive medical care.

If your child is sick with a severe cold or the flu, AFC Urgent Care Portland can help, no appointment necessary.

AFC Urgent Care Flu Season Update

If you've gotten your flu shot already, great job! You're much better protected against getting the flu this flu season. And if you still haven't gotten your yearly flu shot yet, there's no time to waste! Protecting yourself against the flu is vital to your health, as well as the health of those around you, and as we approach peak flu season you're more likely than before to catch the flu.

In fact, the CDC says this year's flu season will be more severe than last year’s — and only getting worse. More and more states are seeing heavy flu activity, with the Northwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic being the most affected regions so far. Flu season typically peaks sometime between December and February each year, and flu outbreaks can even be seen well into March. This is why it's so important to get your flu shot as soon as possible, if you haven't already. Your body takes about two weeks to become protected from the flu after receiving the flu shot, which means if you got yours today you wouldn't be protected until late January. The longer you wait to get a flu shot, the more likely you are to catch the flu this flu season.

To find out if the flu is affecting your area yet, you can monitor the CDC's weekly influenza map. But no matter where you live, it's important to take certain precautions during flu season:

  • Get your flu shot at soon as possible.

  • Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Avoid interaction with those who you know to be sick, and urge them to stay home from work or school and seek medical attention if needed.

  • Keep commonly used surfaces such as door handles clean and disinfected, and place hand sanitizer in easily accessible locations.

For more detailed and up-to-date flu information, including flu activity, hospitalizations and mortalities, you can visit the CDC's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. If your area is seeing high levels of flu activity, you are more at risk of catching it yourself.

If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, get one today at your local AFC Urgent Care, no appointment necessary. And if you think you have the flu, be sure to visit us for help getting better. AFC Urgent Care gives you the care you need, when you need it this flu season — with none of the hassle of waiting for a lengthy and expensive primary care appointment. 




New Year, New Health Goals

At the start of every new year, we all make resolutions to improve our health and our daily lives. But often, in the hustle and bustle of the new year, we end up forgetting or neglecting our resolutions, and which makes our goals that much harder to accomplish. This year, why not break from that pattern, and choose resolutions that will have a big impact on your life without taking an enormous effort? Choosing high-impact goals that can make big changes quickly can help you stick to your resolutions. Here are five small goals we recommend you start with to improve your health this year!

Limit your sugar intake

Recent research suggests that sugar, more than fat, cholesterol or other food additives or ingredients, has an outsized impact on your health, impacting your weight, your mood, your likelihood of developing diabetes and your risk of heart disease. Lowering the amount of sugar in your diet can have a dramatic effect almost immediately, and it’s a quick way to reduce your calorie intake. At the very least, you should start being more aware of the sources of sugar in your diet, because it can show up in a lot of unexpected places.

Start exercising regularly

It’s time to get serious! As with sugar, much of the recent research on exercise has changed how people see it, and doctors say it’s more important than ever to get enough exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a host of other chronic conditions. Even though the recent research has refuted the idea that exercise alone can help you lose weight, the other benefits of exercise, like increased bone strength, better mood and reduced risk of chronic disease, are undeniable.

Know your numbers

Do you know your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers? Even if you don’t have a family history of these conditions, if you’re over the age of 30, you should start keeping track of your numbers to help you keep an eye on your health and detect changes as you age. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and prediabetes are easiest to manage when they are caught early, so keep an eye on your health by keeping track of these essential metrics.

Commit to your health

Many people, especially men, avoid doctors as if their lives depended on it. However, the single best way to stay on top of your health is to make regular visits a part of your yearly schedule. You might feel fine, but keeping up with your doctor visits is the best way to ensure that you remain healthy. Additionally, when you don't feel fine, commit to seeing a health care professional that can help you feel better faster, and potentially help you avoid any dangerous situations. If you're injured, sick or in some kind of pain, it's time to head to your local urgent care center. An urgent care physician can also help you stay on top of important health benchmarks, like getting your annual flu shot, conveniently and with no appointment necessary.

Get some sleep

Another major risk factor for developing chronic disease is not getting enough sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development of conditions that run the gamut from depression and other mood disorders to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. People that get enough sleep are better able to regulate their internal environment, including the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that keep the body functioning at an optimal level. For most adults, seven to nine hours of sleep is enough.

A New Year’s resolution is all about making changes to improve your life. Try out one or two of the above to start with, and see how they make your body feel. And if you have questions about how to apply these changes to your daily life, be sure to visit us at AFC Urgent Care Portland to get some advice!

 

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