Vacation? Protect Yourself From Zika

Zika virus is a growing concern for people traveling this summer, as it has begun spreading rapidly through new regions in Central America and the United States.

Zika virus typically has very mild symptoms, but it can put people at risk of complications such as infant microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus.

AFC Urgent Care wants you and your family to be protected while on vacation, so if you’re planning to travel to an area that has been affected by Zika, like Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, or the Pacific Islands, read on for our tips to keep yourself safe.

Avoid going out during peak mosquito activity. Early morning and early evening are the most active times for mosquitoes, so you should try to avoid spending a lot of time outside during those times of day. Careful planning can allow you to have breakfast and dinner inside and still enjoy the sights and experiences of your destination.

Use insect repellents. Bug sprays registered with the Environmental Protection Agency are the most likely to be effective at keeping mosquitoes away. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin, an insecticide and repellent that acts like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. This chemical is widely-used by public health mosquito control programs, and it can give the wearer a bubble of protection.

Studies have shown that permethrin is one of few pesticides that could be safe for young children.

Use barriers like netting and clothing. You can add a physical barrier between you and mosquitoes by wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers most of your skin. Thin, loose fabric can keep you cool in warm climates, while allowing you to protect yourself from bites. You can also add mosquito netting to baby strollers, hats and hotel rooms that don’t have window screens or air conditioning. These measures can keep you protected around the clock!

Use condoms or abstinence. To prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus, doctors recommend the same measures you can take against other sexually transmitted diseases. Employing physical barriers like condoms or abstaining from sexual activity are two very effective ways to protect yourself from Zika!

The Zika virus has begun to spread quickly through countries like Brazil, and many cases have been confirmed in the United States. While the disease can be unnoticeable when you contract it, there are complications that can make the virus a much bigger health problem.

If you need more information, visit your local AFC Urgent Care for advice on vaccines and other ways you can keep your family healthy while on vacation!
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Tick Season! It’s almost here.

Did you know ticks live in the fur of dogs and cats and other animals and in the feathers of many birds?

Tick bites occur most often during early spring to late summer and not just in areas where there are many wild animals and birds.

Ticks are in the arachnid family. They bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood and if you have pets or if you are in wooded or high grassy areas, you may encounter a tick that can bite and attach itself to you!

Most ticks don’t carry diseases, and most tick bites don’t cause serious health problems. But it is important to remove a tick as soon as you find it.

Removing the tick’s body helps you avoid diseases the tick may pass on during feeding. Removing the tick’s head helps prevent an infection in the skin where it bit you.

Usually, removing the tick, washing the site of the bite, and watching for signs of illness are all that is needed.

In our area of the country, we are exposed to more than one type of tick and since there is a chance that they can pass things like lyme disease and other illnesses to humans, when you have a tick bite, it is important to determine whether you need a tetanus shot to prevent tetanus (lockjaw).

Some people may have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with a few annoying symptoms. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may occur.

Many of the diseases ticks carry cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches. Symptoms may begin from 1 day to 3 weeks after the tick bite. Sometimes a rash or sore appears along with the flu-like symptoms. Common tick-borne diseases include:

Tick paralysis is a rare problem that may occur after a tick bite. In some parts of the world, tick bites may cause other tick-borne diseases, such as South African tick-bite fever.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor and if you do, you can see one at AFC Urgent Care in Memphis 7 days a week, and no appointment is needed.

 

Cabbage Soup ≠ Bikini Body

Summer is fast approaching, which means it will be time to get out the bathing suits and short shorts!

And who doesn’t begin to feel a little insecure after a long winter of bundling up?

Before you start getting ready to bare your “bikini body” on the beach, AFC Urgent Care wants to know:

How do you feel about crash diets? 

For those who have never tried one, a crash diet is when you dramatically cut your calorie intake and restrict the variety of foods you eat for a short period of time, with the goal of losing weight quickly.

By cutting your calorie and nutrient intake abruptly and then allowing your intake to go back to normal, the hope is that instead of a long-term change in your eating habits, you can achieve weight loss with just a few weeks of starvation.

Unfortunately, that’s rarely how it turns out.

During a crash diet, most people will experience the typical symptoms of starvation, including lightheadedness, fatigue, constipation, loss of coordination, irritability and extreme hunger. This is the “crash” part of the diet; your body is trying to conserve as much energy as it can, so its response is to prevent the unnecessary burning of calories. Your body’s starvation response begins within a couple of days of starting your crash diet, after your body burns through its stores of quick energy in the form of glycogen. That’s when your body will begin burning fat and muscle for energy to make up for the deficit. Your metabolism slows to a crawl, and it becomes harder to lose weight as your body clings to every calorie and nutrient you consume.

And here’s the kicker: any weight you lose over the course of your crash diet is highly likely to come back.

According to Darcy Johanssen, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, any weight you drop during a crash diet is likely to be a mix of water weight, fat and muscle, and water and fat will return the fastest. This could have long-term implications for your health, since muscle is harder to replace.

Additionally, there is evidence that your metabolism remains slower for a period of time after your crash diet ends, which could cause you to regain even more weight. Some studies have also shown that repeated crash diets can affect your insulin sensitivity, leading to a greater risk of metabolic disorders or diabetes.

If the word “crash” in the name wasn’t enough to convince you, hopefully these facts are. Crash diets might seem like a good idea over the short term, but they are bad for your long-term health and weight management.

Instead, give our doctors here at AFC Urgent Care in Memphis a visit to discuss building a sustainable plan to manage your weight and keep your body ready for “bikini season” all year long!

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Binge Drinking: Not Just College Students Doing It

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and those celebrations bring green beer and pub crawls … and unfortunately, binge drinking.

This St. Patrick’s Day, our team of physicians at AFC Urgent Care in Memphis want to raise your awareness of binge drinking and the harmful effects that it may have on your health.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings the blood alcohol content (BAC) to .08, which occurs after about four drinks for women and five drinks for men, consumed within a period of two hours.

Short-Term Effects

The most dangerous short-term effect of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning is most likely to occur when a person is drinking large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time. Cases of alcohol poisoning can range in severity. In some cases, people may only experience problems with balance and slurred speech, but alcohol poisoning can become severe enough to lead to coma, seizure or even death. Signs of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing, irregular breathing, difficulty remaining conscious, clammy skin and low body temperature.

Long-Term Effects

Binge drinking is not only harmful for your body in the short term, but it also has many long-term effects on your health.

A person who binge drinks on a regular basis increases risk for long term health problems that affect all parts of the body. Regular binge drinking can cause the following health issues:

  • Alcohol dependence
  • Neurological damage: Problems with memory, concentration, reasoning and increased risk of stroke.
  • Digestive system damage: Increased risk of peptic ulcers, gastritis and stomach cancer.
  • Heart problems: Increased risk of high blood pressure and heartbeat rhythm irregularities.
  • Liver disease: Increased risk for alcoholic hepatitis and the development of a fatty liver, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Psychological problems: Increased risk of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and insomnia.
  • Sexual health problems: Increased risk of erectile dysfunction, lower testosterone levels and sperm growth issues for men. Increased risk of lower fertility in women.

Binge drinking has serious effects on your health, in both the short and long term. To prevent binge drinking, understand the serving size of a standard drink, consume alcoholic beverages slowly and drink water in between alcoholic beverages.

Lost Time from Injury is a Loss in Productivity to Most Companies, Big or Small

All types of businesses and all sizes from small businesses to large corporations benefit from using urgent care centers in terms of the reduced lost-time-on-the-job we provide over a primary care doctor’s office and in the cost of services, which are much cheaper than an ER.

If your employees aren’t well, business suffers. If business suffers, your bottom line suffers. As a business leader you’ve got enough to worry about. You also need an Occupational Health and Workers Compensation clinic that can deliver prompt, accurate communication, a key building block to effective occupational health services.

At AFC/Doctors Express, we’ve designed programs that promote streamlined record keeping, enable a quick return to work, and keep you fully aware of your employee’s health status.

Here are just a few examples of the types of illness and injury we treat that may be related to occupational health or worker’s comp:

  • Colds, Coughs and Flu
  • Cuts and Bruises
  • Earaches and Infections
  • Broken Bones & Fractures
  • Burns, Rashes and Bites
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Nausea and Headaches
  • Eye Injuries
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Back Injury and Pain

And here are just a few examples of occupational health services we provide to meet federal regulations you and/or your employees may be subject to and some of the preventive care services you may offer to employees as part of their compensation or for pre-employment qualifications your company may require of new hires:

  • DOT medical services for CDL certification and re-certification
  • Flu shots and flu tests
  • INS physicals and shots
  • Pre-employment physicals and drug screens
  • Executive health and wellness physicals
  • Pre-operative physicals

AFC/Doctors Express offers employers an occupational medicine program that is an integrated, comprehensive source for health services.

Please contact us for more information at 901-254-8040.DE to AFC soon small size

Yes, You Can Dance Your Way to Better Health

Whether it’s a few steps around your living room or a line dance with friends, dancing can have immediate health benefits, as well as long-term effects for life.

Dancing is a popular, doctor-recommended activity that offers cardiovascular exercise, social interaction and other health benefits to keep you moving! Although the benefits vary based on the type of dance routine you choose, dancing is still a great way to keep your body healthy.

Immediate Benefits

Mood Lifter – Whether you are in a depression that you can’t explain, or you’re angry at the world, the ability to lose yourself in dance can help lift any mood. The Mayo Clinic has cited dance-based exercises, such as Zumba, as great ways to boost your mood.

Stress-Reliever – Dancing gives your mind something else to focus on, allowing you to slowly de-stress and concentrate on feeling better. Dancing also releases endorphins in the same way that running does, giving you the same elevated feeling at the end of your workout.

Self-Monitor – When you dance, you gain better awareness of your body and how it moves. You can feel what parts of your body need more activity and what parts need to be strengthened. By learning your body’s limits, you learn how to prevent injury and will know if something doesn’t feel right later on.

Short-Term Benefits

Improved Muscle Tone and Weight Management – Depending on the routine, dancing can provide concentrated exercise to specific areas on your body, as well as full-body exercises.  Ballet, for instance, consists of holding various poses which work deep muscle tissue across the entire body. A more lively dance routine like the salsa or tango targets your waistline and hips.Improved Flexibility and Balance – Daily and even weekly dancing can help you find your center of gravity and make balancing easier. Healthguidance.org says that certain dance activities can work to strengthen the smaller muscles that play a big role in your ability to balance.

Improved Self-Confidence – Whether it’s mastering a routine or learning to feel comfortable in public, dancing with a group or with a partner can help you build self-confidence. Dancing can be both a social and private event, allowing you to grow comfortable in your own skin and comfortable around others.

Long-Term Benefits

Stronger Heart –  AARP found that dancing not only strengthens your heart and lowers your risk of high blood pressure, but it also decreases your risk of a stroke. Ballroom dance and salsa have been found to have the biggest effect on heart health, because dancers are able to maintain a healthy target heart rate.

Stronger Mind- The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study in 2003 to see if regular physical activity could reduce the risk of dementia and memory loss. Dancing provided the biggest reduction in risk even when compared to bicycling, doing crossword puzzles and playing a sport.

Stronger Bones – Just like our muscles, bones grow stronger through exercise and use. The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends dancing for both children with developing bones, young adults and women. Dancing increases bone density for children and maintains it in adults, allowing for bones that are less likely to fracture.

Other Benefits

Injury Rehabilitation – When recovering from an injury, slow and steady is the best way to go. A health letter written by the Mayo Clinic states that dancing can be a positive alternative to jogging. This is because it is a low-impact way of allowing gradual movement and rotation, without added risk of further injury.

Energy Booster – Dancing not only wakes up all your muscles, but it increases blood flow and causes you to breathe more, providing your body with more oxygen. All these things combined equal higher levels of alertness, wellness and energy.

As with all forms of exercise it is important to start slow and gradually work up to more complicated routines. Be sure to research different styles of dance to see which one might work for you, whether it be slow with low-impact, or fast-paced and intense.

We recommend you get a basic physical before starting any exercise program, especially if you have been away from a regular exercise program for several months or more. We can do a basic physical for exercise fitness at AFC Urgent Care in Memphis, no appointment need, done by our on-site physicians, any day of the week.

Finally, always make sure to monitor how you feel when you start exercising and throughout all your exercise routines and classes, and be sure to contact a medical professional if you notice anything irregular.0813-AFC Memphis-Dangler 11x17 LR copy 2

About the Flu; Part 2

A couple of weeks ago we delivered part 1 of our, “Misconceptions about the flu,” series. And now, here we are with part 2 of our series on flu season!

We hope you took our advice and got your flu shot! We’re going to get a bit more into the nitty-gritty about how the flu spreads and what makes the flu vaccine work. So hang on, we’re diving right in!

  1. The influenza virus is a respiratory virus, and it spreads primarily through contact with respiratory droplets. However, these droplets can spread through direct bodily contact or through contaminated surfaces. The flu virus can remain alive on solid surfaces for as long as eight hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To keep from getting sick, doctors recommend you avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching surfaces or other people and that you wash your hands frequently.
  2. Herd immunity is part of what makes the flu vaccine so powerful. Herd immunity is what happens when enough members of the population have an immune response built up against the disease that it doesn’t gain a foothold and spread throughout the community. This phenomenon is especially important for people who are unable to get the flu vaccine because their immune systems are too weak or because they are too young or old.
  3. In order for the vaccine to be effective during flu season, you have to get the vaccine again every year. Studies have shown that immunity to the flu wears off over time after getting the flu vaccine. The annual flu vaccine also protects against different strains of the flu each year, based on CDC predictions of what will be the most prevalent strains.
  4. New strains of the flu evolve in two different ways. One is a slow, gradual change that makes the flu unrecognizable to your immune system, and this is called antigenic drift. This makes the flu vaccine important on a year-to-year basis. The second kind is called antigenic shift and is a more sudden kind of mutation that occurs when two different strains of the flu infect the same cell and combine their genetic material. This type of mutation can cause a very severe epidemic, because people have little or no immunity to the new strain.
  5. For many reasons, the flu vaccine might not be able to fully protect you. First, if you are exposed to the flu virus before you get the vaccine or in the two weeks after, you could be vulnerable to infection because your body has not built up adequate immunity to it. You could also end up being exposed to a strain of the virus that is not covered by the vaccine, which happens often because of how easily the virus mutates. Finally, you could lose immunity, which happens over time as the body’s immune response to the vaccine dies down. The immune response can wear off faster in older adults.

Now that you’ve read this series, you should be equipped with all the knowledge you need to make it through flu season unscathed.

If you have any more questions about the flu and what risk it presents to your family, you can visit us in #Memphis at #AFC #DoctorsExpress without an appointment to get checked out regarding your exposure to the flu and get our doctors’ directives on what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy.

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