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Two flu-related deaths reported in central Iowa

Posted By KCCI , Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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Officials said the two middle-aged men, age 41 to 60, are from central Iowa. 

Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said their deaths are unusual because of how early it is in the season and that the men weren't that old.

"These deaths are an unfortunate reminder the flu virus is circulating in Iowa, and does have the potential to cause severe illness and death," Quinlisk said.

Officials said the flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. Iowa, Oregon and Rhode Island have the highest influenza activity in the U.S.

The approximately 50 Unity Point clinics and urgent care centers in central Iowa have seen a combined 28 cases of influenza since the first of October, which officials say is not a large amount, considering the state sees about 300,000 cases each year.

Flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa, based on CDC estimates.

At the Unity Point Clinic in Norwalk, 300 doses of flu shots are on hand, but no flu mist doses. The clinic manager said they usually have about 500 doses this year and hopes to get another delivery within the week.

Quinlisk said there have been outbreaks in eastern Iowa, but influenza has not been widespread.

“But it's coming. And especially now that we've had deaths in central Iowa, the bottom line is the flu is here, and it's going to get worse. If you haven't got your flu shot yet, now's the time to go get it,” she said.

Flu numbers can spike after the holidays begin. Quinlisk said not to wait to get vaccinated. If you get vaccinated in the next few days, you'll have good immunity by Thanksgiving.

Vaccinations are recommend for everyone 6 months of age and older and especially for those who have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu, including babies, children with asthma and the elderly.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Learn more at http://www.flu.gov

Tags:  Flu  flu shots  prevention  treatment  urgent care 

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11 Secrets Every Urgent Care Worker Knows (And You Should, Too)

Posted By Prevention.com by Jessica Migala, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

You cut your hand; you've got a fever and don't know if it's the flu; you tripped and your elbow is feeling funky. Should you make a doctor's appointment? Head to the ER? Or go to urgent care?

Often the latter choice is the best one. "Urgent care centers are primarily used to treat patients who have an injury or illness that requires immediate care but isn't serious enough to warrant a visit to a hospital emergency room," says David Kim, MD, facility medical director of Memorial Care Medical Group in Long Beach, California. In other words: non life-threatening. But knowing whether urgent care is your best bet isn't always that black and white. To help you figure it out (and optimize your care once you're there), we rounded up 11 need-to-know secrets from urgent care workers.

1. You still need your doc.
Although urgent care can generally take care of anything a doctor's office can, "we don't replace your primary care physician," says Sean McNeeley, MD, medical director for University Hospitals Urgent Care in the Cleveland area. "Urgent care takes care of you when you're sick—having a regular doctor will ensure that someone is looking out for your health in the future," he says. It's your doctor's office that will watch out for signs of diabetes or track your blood pressure, watch your weight, make sure your immunizations are up to date, and discuss appropriate screenings, like mammograms.

2. They don't want to refill your prescriptions.
It seems easy—ask the doctor at the urgent care center for a refill on a diabetes or pain medication. It takes two seconds, right? Well, patients come in all the time with that request, and they're usually turned down. Chronic conditions are best monitored by primary care doctors because they're the ones who will see your treatment through and help you with lifestyle changes to control the condition. "If you don't have a primary care doc, you may be seen by one of our physicians or referred to a doctor to begin a long-term relationship that's so important for wellness," says Kim.

 3. Whenever possible, you should go mid-day
First thing in the morning and dinnertime are usually busier in urgent care, since patients come in before or right after work or school, says Kim. Later in the evening is another popular time, because doctor's offices are generally closed. He points out that Mondays and Fridays are historically the busiest days. You can't control when you get hurt or sick, but if you can, try to go in the late morning or early afternoon mid-week, when wait times are typically shorter.

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Tags:  differences  er  healthcare  medical care  prevention  urgent care 

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The Truth About 11 Allergy Myths You’ve Probably Always Believed

Posted By Reader's Digest , Friday, April 10, 2015
Are you really allergic to penicillin? Will your pet make you sneeze and wheeze? Is black mold really serious? Doctors clear up our most pervasive misunderstandings about allergies and our health.

The Myth: “Short-haired pets won’t trigger allergies.”
When patients float the idea of a hypoallergenic pet by Nabeel Farooqui, MD, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Ohio State University Medical Center, he says “there’s no such thing.” What people with pet allergies are actually allergic to is dander, the skin and body proteins found in the animal’s urine, saliva, and skin. These white flakes are present regardless of the amount of hair a pet has (this is true for all mammals).

If Fluffy makes you stuffy, the best thing is to keep him outdoors. If that’s not possible, keep your bedroom—where you spend about one-third of your day—a pet-free zone, don’t allow animals on your furniture, and consider HEPA filters, which can remove dander from the air. Wash your pet at least once a week to help reduce dander levels.
The Myth: “My front yard is giving me allergies.”
Don’t necessarily blame the vegetation around your home. “A lot of people think that an oak tree in the front yard is causing their seasonal allergies,” says Timothy Craig, DO, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Penn State University. “Some of them end up cutting it down. But tree pollen can travel hundreds of miles in wind currents.” Chances are even if you rid your yard of its vegetation, trees from surrounding areas could still trigger allergies.

Consider taking a non-sedating antihistamine, and adjust when you spend time outside. “Do outdoor activities in the morning or evening when the winds aren’t as strong,” says Dr. Craig. “Shower when you come inside so you don’t go to bed with pollen stuck on your body.”
The Myth: “There’s toxic black mold in my bathroom. Ahhh!”
We admit, we’ve seen some pretty scary headlines on this one. Still, black mold is probably not as toxic as you might think. Black mold, or Stachybotrys, is so sticky that it can’t travel in air, and therefore doesn’t enter the lungs or respiratory tract. Some people may develop allergic reactions to certain molds, but symptoms would be similar to those from pet allergies—itchy eyes or sneezing. “The medical evidence for death-like toxic reactions is very, very sensationalized,” says Dr. Farooqui.

If you spot black mold in your home, slip on rubber gloves and use a diluted bleach solution—1 quarter cup bleach in a gallon of water—as a fungicidal agent to scrub it away.

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Tags:  hay fever  myths  seasonal allergies  urgent care 

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