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Five Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

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The sights and sounds of the holidays will soon be everywhere. As your calendar fills up, keep in mind that among the magic, lurks cold and flu season. Busy schedules can often lead people to slack on their healthy habits, too. Following are five tips from the clinical team at Innovative Express Care to help you stay on top of your holiday game and out of our office. While we’d love to see you, your health is more important.


When you travel, pack your noise cancelling headphones, bring an eye mask, and take some CBD to ease anxiety so you can rest while in an unfamiliar place. Sleep is critical in keeping us healthy.


Stay hydrated

Limit the alcohol and say yes to plenty of tea or water so you stay hydrated. This is especially important with long distance or airline travel. Your body needs to flush out the toxins in order to maintain good health.


Use food as fuel

It’s easy to eat poorly and snack instead of maintaining good nutrition during the busy holiday time or while traveling. However, food is fuel, and the vitamins and nutrients we get from our meals play a key role in keeping our immune system strong.


Get your flu shot

A busy social schedule and airline travel during the holidays dramatically increases your risk of coming in contact with someone who has influenza. You can significantly decrease your risk of getting sick by getting the flu vaccine.


Stress less

holidays + travel can = stress. De-stress with music, meditation and exercise to keep your body healthy for holiday travel.


If you do happen to get sick, know that we are here to care for you seven days a week. Contact us to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins also accepted. Stay well Chicago!

5 Tips for a Healthy Year Away at College

As an urgent and primary care provider, I see a lot of patients with coughs, colds and season viruses. Our location, being just steps from a college campus, means that a lot of these cases could be prevented with some basic, healthy habits. Following are five simple tips that I hope my own children will need when they head off to school in a few years.  

Sleep (just not through class)

It’s back to school season, which means getting plenty of sleep. It is your best defense against illness. Yes, you can go out and have a good time, but don’t forget to get some rest so your body can restore itself and keep you going. Lack of sleep lowers your resistance, making you more prone to coughs, colds and seasonal flu. Kick your noisy roommate out for a bit and take a nap if you need to.

Choose food that fuels your mind

Pizza and breadsticks at 3am alone will not cut it. Choose foods that fuel your mind. Fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins are essential to keeping your body strong. Bonus, they also help prevent unwanted weight gain that many experience in college. While mom’s home cooking may be miles away, the grocery store is a short walk. Don’t live on pizza delivery alone. Eating healthy will help keep you in school and away from your medicine cabinet.  

Fluids are your friend

Drink plenty of water and other non-carbonated, non-caffeinated beverages each day. Staying hydrated is essential to keeping our body healthy. It also flushes out any toxins you may have consumed the night before. Need an extra boost? Innovative Express Care, located just off the DePaul campus, offers IV fluids for hangovers which will get you back on your feet in no time. 

Get your flu shot

Think you don’t need your flu shot? Think again. The flu likes college living just as much as you do. Your best protection against the flu is to get the vaccine. We have walk-in appointments available daily and will have you in and out in no time.

If you get sick, call us (and your mom)

Did you get sick despite your best attempts to stay healthy? Call us. We offer same-day appointments and even walk-in appointments, which means you can just Uber on over to Innovative Express Care. Oh and call your mom, too. She’ll want to know. She may even make you some chicken soup.  


Get Your Flu Shot. Fight the Flu.

While warm weather may still be upon us, flu season is fast approaching. In fact, we’ve already seen our first flu case of the season at Innovative Express Care. Your best defense against influenza is to get your flu vaccine, which will offer you and your family protection all season. Still unsure? Read on to learn more about the importance of flu vaccines.  

How does the flu shot work?

The flu vaccine significantly lowers your risk of catching influenza, and if you do happen to get the flu, it lessens the severity of the symptoms and duration of the virus. The flu shot works by injecting inactive influenza viruses into your body. This allows your body to create antibodies that fight the virus. The viruses targeted in the flu shot are modified each season based on flu predictions, and typically include Inflenza A, H1N1, H3N2, and Influenza B. Learn more about the Influenza viruses here

Why vaccinate for the flu?

We all have a friend that claims the flu shot makes you sick. This is absolutely false. The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up antibodies, so it’s best to receive your flu shot early in the season. Complications from the flu have the potential to be life-threatening, especially for high-risk individuals, which include infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as those with underlying health conditions. In the 2018-2019 flu season, there were approximately 550,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths from flu viruses.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Everyone over the age of six months (with the exception of those who are allergic to vaccine ingredients), should receive their flu vaccine. Innovative Express Care has the flu shot available now, and we will be offering flu vaccines all season long. We do accept insurance and self-pay is only $30.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call 773-270-5600.

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