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Ultimate Music Festival Survival Guide

People buy tickets to Chicago’s internationally recognized music festivals months in advance, but many people forget to plan for their health. This is the ultimate musical festival guide! Residents of the “Windy City” are lucky to host music festivals, like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and the Spring Awakening, which offer a variety of music, including alternative, folk, blues, hip hop, electronic, and more. The events attract thousands of people from around the world each year and they give residents and visitors the opportunity to come together and experience great music.

Chicago’s many great music festivals are definitely something to be excited about, but not planning for your heath when you will be in crowded places, dancing and drinking in the sun for days, is not a good idea. Medical professionals must treat hundreds of festival-goers each year, and the effects of music, alcohol, drugs, late nights, unprotected sex, and sun exposure require thousands more people to seek treatment from their primary care physicians once the festivals are done.

Don’t ruin your summer festival season by not taking care of yourself. We made this guide to help you plan for your health before, during, and after any of Chicago’s great music festivals.


Check the weather before you head out. Proper preparation can protect you from everything from weather-related discomfort to life-threatening injury. Important items to bring with you include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Clean clothes
  • Ibuprofen
  • Electrolyte drink (1 per day)
  • A personal first aid kit, including bandages in various sizes and shapes, gauze, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, and sting relief
  • Earplugs
  • Any medications you take regularly
  • Water
  • Face wipes
  • Hand sanitizer/baby wipes
  • Condoms
  • Sunglasses

During cold or rainy weather, add:

  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Jackets
  • Comfortable closed-toed shoes

In the days leading up to the event, drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced diet. This will help your body get plenty of essential nutrients to help you feel great while you party the night away.

Also, be sure to get plenty of rest in the weeks before your epic music festival experience. Heat, long days drinking in the sun, and late nights partying can wear you down. You do not want to burn out in the middle of the festival. Extra rest will energize you and help you make the most out of the experience.

Pack items like condoms even if you don’t think you will need them. You just never know if you will meet someone special, and you don’t want your romantic experience to end in a trip to the doctor. Likewise, you should pack and use sunscreen even if the weather is dreary. People still experience sunburns during overcast weather because the sun reflects off the clouds.

Preparing for your festival and packing essential health items will help you have the most fun possible.

Additionally, should any of this preparation fail to protect you, it is important for you take note of where you can seek medical attention.


Drink an electrolyte drink and plenty of water each day during the festival, especially if you are dancing and/or walking around for extended periods of time. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems. Do not mix alcohol and drugs, as doing so can lead to potentially fatal reactions within your body.

Use baby wipes or antibacterial wipes to keep yourself clean during the event. Music festivals are fun, but long days in the sun and limited resources for festival goers can lead to fungal infections like jock itch and athlete’s foot. Being mindful of your hygiene and wearing clean dry socks and underwear is essential to your health.

Wear shoes in which you can walk long distances comfortably. Address small injuries like blisters, sun burns and/or small cuts as soon as possible. This will prevent small injuries from becoming worse and threatening the longevity of your music festival experience.

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and again every 2 hours. This will help prevent burns and diminish the likelihood of sun poisoning. If necessary, set alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to reapply. If you get a sunburn on the first or second day treat yourself with the following:

  • Take ibuprofen
  • Drink extra water
  • Apply aloe or sunburn care treatment
  • Take a cool shower (not cold)
  • Avoid further exposure to the sun by covering burns and wearing sunscreen

Rainy/wet weather

Rainy weather also carries its own set of challenges. Use ponchos or rain coats to keep your clothes dry. Keep your feet dry and warm with good socks and closed-toe shoes. And even if you can’t see the sun, continue using sunscreen. According to the Center for Disease Control, you can get a sunburn, “even on cloudy days.”

Post-festival care

After the festivities, you will have amazing memories of good times with old and new friends, but you may also be questioning your judgement if you did not plan for your health. Recovering from the marathon of music, dancing, alcohol, potential drug use, walking, and socializing, may take some time. The following tips may help you recover faster.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and drink lots of water. Dehydration makes recovery more difficult and lowers your body’s immune system, which can cause serious health concerns in the days following a festival.

If you have a sunburn take ibuprofen and use topical sunburn relief with aloe to help the healing process. If the sunburn starts to make you feel sick, consult a doctor as soon as possible, as this may be a sign of sun poisoning.

Some additional post-festival health issues you should look out for include:

  • UTIs
  • STDs
  • Exhaustion
  • Cold / Flu

If your festival experience leaves you needing medical attention, the friendly professional staff at Innovative Express Care in Lincoln Park, can help. With the highest urgent care provider review rating in the Chicagoland area and helpful features like free parking, telemedicine (video conferencing), online booking, and accessible online medical records, we are here for your urgent care needs. Walk-ins are welcome and wait times average less than 15 minutes. We hope you enjoy your event and if you need medical assistance, come experience “healthcare evolved” at Innovative Express Care.


Image Source: m.gin

What is Urgent Care?

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care is where you go when you have a non-life threatening illness or injury that you can’t fix at home, and you want fast treatment. You don’t want to sit in that germ-filled emergency room for hours and then get depersonalized care. You might go because your regular doctor is off on a fishing trip or tied up in court.

Urgent care treats people of all ages with all sorts of conditions, both acute and chronic. If the problem is severe, you may be referred to the emergency room or a hospital. But in most cases, urgent care is convenient, efficient, and cheaper than other alternatives.

What Gets Treated

Here is a partial list of conditions appropriate for urgent care:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Pink eye
  • Sore throats
  • Head injury from stepping on a rake
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Colds, upper respiratory infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Diarrhea
  • Burns
  • Injuries from fire ant attacks
  • Asthma
  • Heartburn
  • Diaper rash

And what doesn’t get treated

Here is a partial list of conditions which should send someone to the emergency room in an ambulance (call 911):

  • Heart attack symptoms – chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, pain in left arm, and more
  • Stroke symptoms – Weakness on one side of face and/or body, difficulty speaking. Face droops on on side, dizziness, confusion, and more
  • Severe allergic reaction – trouble breathing, swollen tongue, hives, vomiting, wheezing, and more
  • Severe injuries with profuse bleeding, loss of consciousness, fractures, anything that appears life-threatening

More pluses for going to urgent care

Many people like to receive all of their medical care in one place. They want convenience, quick service, high-tech communications, reasonable prices, extended hours, and as many services as possible all together. People would love to have medications, x-rays, lab services, walk-in treatment, convenient appointments, and state-of-the-art everything at their disposal.

They would also like to bring their children and grandmas and grandpas in for acute and chronic care. An urgent care team has a broad range of knowledge in many fields and will refer you to a specialist if needed.

The best of urgent care can be found in the Chicago area

You don’t need an appointment and the wait time is never more than 30 minutes. And you can schedule a visit online or by fax or phone. If you can’t make it in person or you can’t drag yourself away from the soaps, you can use our telemedicine service. And yes, IEC has a well-stocked pharmacy, a lab, X-ray machines, and state-of-the-art everything.


Image Source: Sonny Abesamis 

Innovative Express Care Now Takes Advocate HMO BCBS!

Are you looking for a doctor in your Advocate Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois HMO Network? Innovative Express Care, aka Innovative Platinum Care, is a brand new provider in the network. We are excited to start taking this new insurance. If you have Advocate HMO on your Blue Cross Blue Shield card, then we take your insurance.

Innovative Express Care is not your normal doctor’s office. We pride ourselves in using technology to the fullest. For example, if you need a medication refill, but still need to see the physician, you can book an appointment to see our provider via telemedicine. Yes, you do not even have to leave work to see the doctor. Also, if you want to make an appointment with us, all you have to do is go to our web page, and click “Book Appointment” and find all the available slots open.

We offer many different services. You can even book online:

Primary Care
Urgent Care
Mental Health Therapy

If you want a fresh start on your health care, please check out our website and make an appointment.

Any of these Advocate Insurances
Blue Cross HMO Illinois
Blue Advantage HMO
Blue Cross Medicare Advantage HNO- POS
Blue Cross Advocate HMO
Blue Precision HMO
Blue Precision HMO
Blue Precision Silver HMO
Blue Cross Advocate Employee PPO
And Many other insurances

Choosing a Primary Care Physician

When picking a primary care physician, you want the highest possible level of care. You rely on your PCP for accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. Additionally, with an increase in technology-based medicine, many patients now demand an added layer transparency from their health care providers.

There are many factors to consider when trying to find the right primary care physician. Too often, patients rely on just one or two factors, such as price or location, when selecting a PCP. While those factors may be important, you should also consider your own health status (perhaps you have a chronic disease), as well as the primary care physician’s track record and areas of expertise.

What to Look for in a Primary Care Physician

With a few exceptions, PCPs generally practice family medicine, internal medicine, or general medicine. While conducting your search, be sure to check if your potential doctor holds any additional licenses or specialties. Patients can find out about a physician’s credentials through the American Medical Association, state licensing boards, and by researching the types of continuing education courses the physician has completed in the past few years.

Some physicians may have more experience in treating certain conditions than others. If you suffer from a chronic disease, you may want to know how a doctor has fared with patients like you in the past. While you can’t get this kind of information from confidential medical records, you can read online patient reviews or set up a preliminary consultation with the physician in question.

Gaining Insight on a Primary Care Physician

In a recent Gallup healthcare survey, more than half of respondents indicated that a physician’s history of medical mistakes and experience in a specific area of medicine, influenced their decision more than anything else. In the past, patients tended to focus more on the location, age, sex, and demeanor of a physician. Now, consumers are more concerned about level of care, transparency, and a physician’s philosophy on integrating complementary therapies to more effectively treat a condition.

Additionally, more and more patients demand less testing (unless absolutely necessary), accurate diagnoses, and treatment methods that not only heal but also keep medical costs as low as possible. The specialists at Innovative Express Care take pride in using the most innovative technology to provide effective, transparent, and affordable care to their patients.

If you’re in the market for a primary care physician, schedule an appointment today!

Why You Need a Primary Care Physician

What is a primary care doctor?

Just what is a PCP, anyway? It may sound like some buzz word or a new online acronym, but it does a describe the role of a very important person: a primary care physician. A primary care physician is more than just that go-to person you see for annual checkups. He or she is your partner when it comes to managing your overall health.

Taking care of yourself

If you suffer from diabetes or another chronic condition and you don’t have a PCP, you’ve probably felt the frustration of receiving conflicting medical advice from multiple doctors. If too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, one shudders to think what too many doctors do for your health! Regular appointments with your primary care physician can help him or her keep tabs on your health and determine whether or not you need the additional help of a specialist.

Averting a crisis

When you have a PCP, it might often seem like you spend quite a bit of time going to checkups and undergoing lab work. However, before you decide it’s time to start skipping your appointments for a jog in the park, think again. Your doctor is your greatest ally in spotting and treating any new health concerns that may crop up. Because he or she will be familiar with your history, your PCP is much less likely to rely on guesswork than a doctor who doesn’t know you.

Think about it this way: would you rather receive a serious diagnosis from your PCP, who knows you and is invested in your health, or from an overworked ER doctor who can only spare you a couple of minutes?

Spending less time in the ER and hospital – yay!

A visit to the ER usually means long waits, big bills, and, sometimes, a stay in the hospital. By utilizing the preventative care of a PCP, you can avoid all of this. A primary doctor helps you manage your health so small issues don’t become big ones.

When you need a referral

Sometimes situations arise where you need to see a specialist, such as a cardiologist or an ENT. Don’t worry; your primary care doctor has you covered. He or she probably has a large network of specialists and can refer you to whichever type you need.

Innovative Express Care offers a full range of medical care, including primary care. We’ll set you up with a doctor who will help you take charge of your health so you can live your best life.

Innovative Express Care and Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza 2017Congratulations to Innovative Express Care on being the “Rockdocs” of Lollapalooza!

We are thrilled to announce that Rahul Khare, MD and John Zautke, MD have been invited to be the personal physicians to the artists of Lollapalooza. Both doctors have an extensive history of taking care of musicians and celebrities. Khare and Zautke belong to a fairly exclusive club- doctors who tend to the health needs of musical performers. From strained voices to dehydration, Innovative Express Care physicians are the doctors of the rockstars. Although we hope their services are never needed, we are happy they will be there to help the artists in need.

Let us know if you need an appointment to see them at Innovative Express Care! You can book an appointment here!


Service Dogs

service dogs

Service Dogs

He’s your best friend, your running partner, your middle-of-the-night cuddle buddy and second in the pecking order only to your significant other. You need him with you all the time, but some people just don’t get that he’s a crucial part of your well-being. Man’s best friend can be more than just a furry companion. Trained properly, dogs can be certified as service animals to help individuals with a variety of tasks. If you feel you have a condition that would benefit from having the support of a service animal, Innovative Express Care can help!

Pets with a vest

You can often spot a service animal in a crowd because a special harness or vest will identify it as a physical or emotional support dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

Beyond the official dog wardrobe, owners typically have documentation of their medical conditions or disabilities that require the service animal. Just like an “all-access pass” for a concert, this allows the dog to go in to places other animals cannot go (even places with strict “no pets” policies). This includes restaurants, stores, hotels, theaters, taxis, subways, airplanes and other venues and modes of transportation. The ADA notes business owners may not insist on proof of certification before permitting the service animal. Simply: You gotta let ‘em in.

Canines at work

Many people are only aware of “seeing eye dogs” that assist visually impaired people. Over the years, dogs have been trained to help with many other tasks. According to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, these may include:

  • Alerting the hearing impaired to sounds
  • Pulling wheelchairs
  • Interrupting an owner during a trigger or psychiatric occurrence
  • Alerting others when its owner is in distress
  • Providing tactile stimulation for anxiety attacks, panic attacks, etc.
  • Interrupting and redirecting people with OCD who may harm themselves
  • Carrying medicine for the owner in a specialized backpack

Pet Wellness Academy co-founder, Dr. Katie Kangas, notes that dogs help with anxiety and depression by breaking the cycle of negativity. The animals not only provide companionship, but also give the owner a sense of purpose because dogs need to be walked, fed and cared for. In return, the dog provides the unconditional love the owner needs. So it’s not about being able to bring your dog to brunch to hang out, but about bringing your dog to brunch to help you remain calm and in control. Although dogs can’t drink mimosas and that’s the whole point of brunch, so your dog may not even want to come to brunch with you anyway.

Certainly certifiable

Any dog breed—from an akita to a whippet—can become a service animal. It must, however, be more than just healthy and well-behaved. A number of states have programs to certify service animals, but there are no defined requirements in the United States (not even by the ADA). International standards are a minimum of 120 hours training over six to 24 months. And they must spend at least 30 hours in public with distractions, surprises and “real world” issues. Registering a service animal with the United States Service Dog Registry provides proper credentials and identification. It also allows you to prove you’re not just trying to get your dog a free seat on the plane, but that you need him with you so you don’t scare the other travelers with your flight-induced panic attacks.

Flying dogs

Airports must allow service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. When you travel via air with your service animal, he or she will get screened by the TSA. Be prepared and understand their rules. (Sometimes you can get to the front of the line.)

Each airline has its own requirements for identifying the dog as a service animal. Pro tip: because it differs so much, always call ahead. Some airlines may require a separate note from a doctor in addition to official documentation. Anyone who gets to the gate and faces discrimination or has any issue with the airline not allowing their dog to board should call the real-time hotline for the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation at  800-778-4838.

If traveling anywhere outside of the country, educate yourself on country-specific requirements. Depending on your destination, the animal may even face quarantine.

Home sweet home

In most situations, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who require the help of service animals, even in a “no pets” building. It’s a federal law. But if your building is owner-occupied with no more than four units, or is a single-family house rented without the assistance of a real estate broker, the act is not applicable. So you’re out of luck. Be aware, however, that many landlords may request to see registration and other identification. If there is a problem, file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

If you become our patient at Innovative Express Care and feel you would benefit from your pet being a service animal, just give a whistle. We’ll help you with the process; no bones about it.

Image Source: FoundAnimalsFoundation

Is it a sprain or a break?


Is it a sprain or a break?

One minute you’re walking along thinking you’re looking real good in those stiletto booties and the next you’re on the ground, both your ego and your ankle bruised and in pain.

The question you ask yourself—after you wonder if anyone just saw you bust your ass in broad daylight—is likely, “Is it broken or just sprained?”

In either case, after you’ve grumbled about your clumsiness and possibly shed a tear about your now-scuffed suede boots, you’ll still want to seek treatment. But knowing the differences between the two will help you know what to expect. Prompt attention will help get you back on track, no matter which of these issues you are facing.

What are signs of a sprain?

Many people who suspect a break because of pain actually have a sprain. One of the most common symptoms of a sprain is pain in the soft tissue area, but not the bone. You might still be able to walk easily enough, but pain or weakness often occurs when there is ligament damage. Having an injured ankle checked out is always a good precautionary measure—and you’ll probably sleep a lot better at night.

What are signs of a break?

If most of the pain in your injured ankle is over the bone, this might be a sign that you’ve fractured it. Further confirmation comes when you discover it’s hard to bear weight on it and you’re cursing the siren song of those buttery-soft boots. The longer you put off getting some type of treatment after injuring your ankle, the more likely you are to sustain lasting damage or develop arthritis.

How do these injuries happen?

Although you can fracture an ankle during a fall, twisting your leg in the wrong direction can also cause a break. Sprains are also common when you twist your ankle after stepping in something or taking a spill on an icy sidewalk. In many cases, you might not realize how badly you’ve injured your ankle until the swelling starts, which can happen with both a sprain and a break.

How are sprains and breaks treated?

Imaging scans such as X-rays can diagnose whether your injury is a sprain or fracture. Both injuries can often be stabilized and treated non-invasively, which means no surgery. A splint or boot (no, not Louboutin) may be used to immobilize the ankle in either case. If the injury is severe enough, you may need to use crutches to take the weight off the affected foot. You’ll also relegate your high-heels to the back of the closet for a while.

What should you do if you have a sprain or break?

Contact us for an appointment at Innovative Express Care. Don’t hobble around in pain insisting you’ll be fine, get it checked out and we’ll quickly help you get started on the road to recovery.

Preventing chapped, dry skin in the cold

dry skin

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: days filled with red, raw and dry skin that a moisturizer just can’t touch. You’ve taken to sleeping with socks on your hands and have seriously contemplated dipping your extremities in whatever they froze Han Solo in, hoping you can just make it stop.

The winter weather in the Chicago area can be bitterly cold and almost moisture-free. This combination—although great for a martini—means dry, chapped skin on the hands and face that is no laughing matter. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to deal with the problem. Here are a few of the most effective:

Wash with the proper soap
Most people don’t realize there is a wide diversity in hand soaps. That bar of Irish Spring may leave you clean as a whistle, but it could do some serious damage to your special snowflake skin. Some soaps are manufactured with chemicals—mostly for fragrance and feel—that will irritate sensitive skin. Unless you’re a garage mechanic who needs to remove layers of grease, these “harsh” soaps should be avoided in most cases. Instead, use a mild soap that contains vegetable or herbal oils, aloe vera or witch hazel, and rosemary or peppermint.

Always dry your hands thoroughly
After washing, it is essential to thoroughly dry your hands for two reasons. First, in areas where minor cracking has already developed, water can gather and exacerbate the situation. Second, even a light wind in cold weather conditions can cause damage to your skin. This advice also pertains when you clean the dishes or mop up a spill—who wants to walk around with wet hands anyway? Gross. Also consider wearing rubber gloves while performing those chores. Dishpan hands are not sexy.

Wear gloves or mittens outdoors
Living in Chicago means you’ll have to go outside in the cold and snow at some point. You can’t Amazon Prime everything, you know. When you go outside, protecting your hands from the elements is essential if you want to prevent chapping. In particular, when it is sleeting or snowing, it is quite easy for moisture to accumulate on exposed skin. This is true even if you are performing such seemingly quick tasks as clearing a windshield or throwing a snowball. Or carrying a bottle of wine in one hand and your iPhone in the other on your way to your Uber.

Regularly use a moisturizing cream
Slathering on a moisturizing cream will help retain fluids and also facilitate the healing process. Use it twice a day while out and about and then once more at bedtime. For a spa-like intensive moisture treatment, completely coat your hands— including the backs and in between the fingers—and then wear a pair of light cotton gloves to really seal in the moisture. Your Candy Crush game will have to wait, but it will be worth it.

For more information on preventing dry skin while you wait for the spring thaw and more decent weather, please visit us at Innovative Express Care or contact our healthcare specialists directly at 773-270-5600 with any specific questions. Alternatively you can click here to immediately book an appointment. Stay warm!

Image Source: Katie Tegtmeyer

How to get rid of lice

liceThe four most terrifying words in the English language: “Your child has lice.”

That simple phrase turns normally sane people into raving lunatics, ones who vacuum stuffed animals until they are completely threadbare, burn blankets and pillows in backyard bonfires, and actually soak their children’s heads in vodka and olive oil.

More than one parent has suffered PTSD after a family case of lice, mumbling in her sleep weeks later about comb-outs and brandishing spray bottles of tea tree oil as children warily dodge her.

Lice spread like wildfire, are incredibly resilient, are way more common than one might think and are insanely difficult to cope with. But the one bright spot is that prompt, professional treatment will get them out of your hair—literally. Extremely persistent cases can benefit from medical intervention and reduce the time you spend considering moving out of your house to eradicate them.

What are lice and how do they affect people?

Lice are wingless, parasitic insects that feed on human blood, making people’s scalps the perfect place to pitch a tent and settle in for a visit. You’re probably saying “yuck!” about now and with good reason. They’re very common in group environments, particularly among young kids.

What are some signs of lice?

Even though lice are miniscule, it’s pretty easy to spot them if you’re quick and know what you’re looking for. You’re more likely to see the eggs, called nits, first. They’re brown, tan or yellow, appearing within a quarter-inch of the base of the hair shaft. Nymphs (newly hatched lice) and adult lice are either a grayish or tan color.

One of the most common symptoms is extreme itching, sometimes with a feeling of something crawling on your scalp. Depending on how allergic you are to these little pests, you might develop a rash. And it’s not uncommon to have multiple sore spots on your scalp from scratching. So attractive.

How easily do lice spread?

They spread from person to person by crawling, which means head-to-head contact—they don’t jump or fly. Sharing clothing, hats and hair accessories are perfect ways to spread the insects. These bugs feature long claws that help them cling to hair or clothing so kids who are in the habit of swapping belongings and personal items with each other make perfect targets for this little bug. One thing you can breathe a sigh of relief about, though, is that you can’t get lice from your dog or cat. Lice don’t discriminate, either. They love all types of hair, dirty or clean. And yes, adults get lice all the time.

How are lice treated?

Lotions, cream rinses and medicated shampoos are all possible treatments for lice. But the best treatment is combing, combing and combing some more. And then combing again. And one more time for good measure. While the treatments kill the live lice, the combing process removes the eggs so they can’t hatch and reinfect your head. In most cases, the itching will start to go away after a few days. There are also oral medications doctors can prescribe that work well for severe infestations. Depending on how bad your case is, you might need to do another treatment seven to 10 days after the initial one.

What to do if you have lice

First, pour yourself a stiff drink. Then take a deep breath, get out the vacuum and start on the 75 loads of laundry. Resist the urge to encase everything—including the child in question—in plastic bags. And book an appointment with Innovative Express Care to get help with your infestation. Getting treatment right away will keep you from going buggy over the itching.

Image Source: Wikipedia