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.

 

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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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Look Out For These Heart Health Warning Signs

It’s the middle of February, which means our New Year’s resolutions are either new habits or fond memories. We at AFC/Doctors Express are hoping that one of your resolutions was to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to help you stay on track, we have compiled a list of things to look out for when you’re evaluating your health.

As February is American Heart Month, we’ll go over what couldheart indicate that you might have heart trouble! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States.

You get exhausted easily. If you notice that you become more tired than usual doing everyday things, you might want to get to your doctor’s office. We’re not talking the feeling you get after a long day of work. If you feel like you have the flu every day, and you haven’t changed your daily activities, that should be something you bring up with your doctor. This fatigue could be caused by circulation issues or a faulty heart valve, which could be lowering your blood pressure. If this is paired with shortness of breath or an inability to walk up a couple flights of stairs without becoming tired, this should be a serious cause for concern.

Your feet are swelling. If you notice that your feet are swelling, or if you feel pain in your legs when you walk, your heart could be having trouble moving the blood in your peripheral arteries, which are the arteries that are furthest from your heart. This could cause buildups of fatty deposits in your arteries and an increase in fluid in your feet, leading to swelling and pain. You should see your doctor or urgent care physician as soon as possible if you think you might have this condition, because while these are very treatable, they must be addressed to prevent them from getting worse.

You can hear your heartbeat. If you lie down to sleep and can hear your heart in your ears, that might spell trouble, because it could mean your heart valves are not closing and opening the way they should be. Faulty valves are symptoms of coronary artery disease and can lead to low blood pressure and exacerbate other symptoms of heart trouble.
For American Heart Month, it’s a good idea to take stock of your heart health. Visiting your local AFC/Doctors Express can give you detailed information on the state of your heart, without even needing an appointment. Your heart is the organ that keeps you going, so do your part to keep it healthy this February!

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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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Do you have any of these symptoms? If so, time to see a doctor.

So you’re sick … or someone you care about is sick, or injured.

Just what are some of the symptoms or warning signs that signal you shouldn’t “tough out” the illness or injury at home?

In general, if you have an injury or illness that demands immediate attention, yet isn’t urgent enough to justify a trip to a hospital emergency room (ER) or emergency department, it still is likely urgent enough to not wait on getting an appointment with a doctor, which may take several days.

Instead, go to an urgent care clinic or center where no appointments are needed and you will be seen by a doctor.

An injury that is truly life-threatening – a cardiac event, for instance, a serious or compound bone fracture, a dramatic injury to the head – are all best treated at a hospital emergency room.

On the other hand, a household cut or burn, a persistent low-grade fever, flu-like symptoms, or joint sprains can all be easily treated at urgent care. And while urgent care centers generally aren’t open 24 hours a day, most of them open early and close late.

Here are some of the conditions for which a trip to a conveniently located urgent care is a good solution:

  1. Cold or flu symptoms: Nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose, low-grade fever, sore throats, and chills can all be easily treated at urgent care.
  2. Earaches: An ear infection can be serious if left untreated, and urgent care can provide the proper treatment, or provide a prescription for an antibiotic.
  3. Foreign objects: A cinder or speck of dust in your eye can feel like a boulder when you can’t flush it out and your eyes are red and irritated. And children are known for getting pieces of toys and games stuck in the strangest places — including up their noses and inside their ears. These are routine issues for urgent-care staff.
  4. Migraine headaches: Migraine victims often need prescription pain medication stronger than the average headache sufferer requires. Urgent care can provide them.
  5. Burns: A household burn can be incredibly painful, but it’s easily treated at urgent care. Serious (third-degree) burns are better treated at the emergency room.
  6. Sprains: If you’ve hurt your wrist or turned an ankle on the tennis court or the front stair, urgent care is fine. Same thing with a pulled back muscle, a bad bruise or bump from a fall, or simple household accident.
  7. Breathing difficulties: Allergy or asthma attacks that are making it difficult to breathe and may require either medication or a prescription inhaler can be handled at urgent care.
  8. Cuts: They’re among the most common household injuries, and as long as the bleeding is controllable, they can be handled at urgent care – including those that may need a few stitches.
  9. Abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea: Urgent care is equipped to dispense anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medications. If the pain is severe, and appendicitis is a possibility, or if you’ve been so ill that you’re dehydrated, the emergency room could be a better option.
  10. Rashes: Urgent care can address skin irritations or eruptions caused by poison oak, poison ivy, and/or minor food allergies.

In summary, an injury that might permanently impair or endanger an individual’s life is best handled by an emergency room – including seizures or loss of consciousness, serious head or neck injuries, poisonings, knife or gunshot wounds, or fever in newborns.

However, with more “everyday” medical matters, urgent care can handle pretty much any and all nonlife-threatening conditions, which is what we do every day, 7 days a week at #AFC #DoctorsExpress urgent care in #Memphis. DE to AFC soon small size

Some Misconceptions about the Flu

The influenza virus is a seasonal epidemic that typically hits the United States around October and can last until May.
Even though this is a yearly occurrence, there are still some misconceptions about the flu and what people should do to protect themselves. To keep our readers informed, we are doing a two-part series on important facts people should know about the flu. Part two will be released next week.The flu is not just a “severe cold.”

cold-and-flu-season-1This is a dangerous myth that gets repeated because people don’t understand the difference between the flu and the common cold. While both are viral infections, the flu can lead to hospitalization in vulnerable populations, while the common cold very rarely leads to any complications. If you are experiencing body aches, muscle fatigue and headaches in addition to cold-like symptoms, you might want to
plan a visit to your doctor.

Each year, about 20 percent of Americans are affected by the flu. Many among this number are people who can’t get the flu vaccination because they are too young or old or because they have compromised immune systems. People with certain medical conditions and those who don’t get the flu vaccine are also especially vulnerable.

More than 200,000 people have to be hospitalized each year due to the flu. This adds up to about $10.4 billion in direct health care costs, plus the cost of lost productivity for workers who are too sick to come to the office. The flu can cost an individual about $130 due to doctor visits and medications, and those without sick days can lose about $92 in wages from missing work. Compared to these costs, the flu vaccine can be a lot cheaper; it’s free with most insurance plans, and full price is typically around $25 or les at urgent care facilities like #AFC #DoctorsExpress in #Memphis or any of our #AmericanFamilyCare locations around the country.

The people who are usually the most affected are children younger than six months, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions that compromise their immune systems. If you or a family member fit into any of these groups, it’s important that everyone get a flu vaccine and practice healthy habits, such as good hand-washing techniques.

The flu kills by progressing rapidly, causing difficulty breathing or leaving the body vulnerable to more serious bacterial infections. This means if you notice a sudden progression of symptoms or shortness of breath, a doctor or urgent care facility needs to be your first stop. These types of changes can be difficult to predict, and it can get out of control extremely fast. Even people who seem to be in perfect health can die from the flu.

So that was the first set of facts about flu season in the United States. Because of the myths surrounding the flu, this annual epidemic can be easy to ignore until you’re impacted by it. To keep yourself and your family safe, be sure you take preventive measures, and visit #AFC #DoctorsExpress in #Memphis or any of our #AmericanFamilyCare locations around the country.

 

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