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Dr. Khare Provides an Honest Account of the status of COVID-19 in the United States

Dr. Rahul Khare, Innovative Express Care

Many people have asked me how to best protect themselves and their family against the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Here’s the bottom line: COVID-19 is coming the US and to Chicago. It is likely that a significant amount of people will get infected. There are however things you can do to limit your risk.

Fallout from the virus will go beyond the spread of illness in the United States. China supplies the world with many products. As such, global stock markets and financials may be in question. The risk of the virus itself, and the impact it will have on our economy, will be scary for all of us. However, transmission rates will begin to slow, and hopefully subside by the summer.

There are several things to keep in mind regarding the COVID-19 virus:
  • The mortality rate of COVID-19 is still relatively low compared to Swine Flu and SARS.
  • People who are over 75 years of age are more at risk than those who are younger. Kids, for some reason, seem to be protected somehow.
  • The single most important thing you can do, is wash your hands regularly. This means before every meal, after using the restroom, following a trip to the mall or running errands, etc. Frequent hand washing is crucial in preventing the spread of colds, flu and the novel coronavirus that is active in many countries, including in the United States.
  • Keep an eye on travel warnings – The CDC has issued several travel warnings in response to COVID-19 activity in several countries. Stay on top of the latest warning levels, which in many regions is to “avoid non-essential travel” currently.
  • Any time you are traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to consult with a travel medicine physician who can share region-specific health information and advise you on any precautions to take prior, or during your trip.
  • When you are sick, stay home – We all have work and school obligations, however the truth is, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else any favors when reporting to these places sick. If you have symptoms of illness, especially fever, stay home. Respiratory illnesses such as cold viruses, flu, and the novel coronavirus are all easily spread when an infected individual comes in contact with others.
  • Use the CDC as your guide – Remember, despite your political allegiance, the CDC director is a veteran virologist, Robert Redfield, MD, who has studied HIV and other infectious viruses for over 30 years. We have to trust that the CDC will give us the proper instructions during the time of COVID-19

Innovative Express Care is an urgent care practice open seven days a week for your convenience. Contact us to schedule an appointment or walk-in, as wait times are typically less than 30 minutes.

Did you forget to get your flu shot this year? No problem, it’s not too late and we can help.

Need a new primary care physician? Innovative Primary Care is now accepting new patients.

Excedrin Shortage: Is your migraine medicine in short supply? Dr. Khare shares alternatives

Excedrin Shortage

Excedrin Shortage

Anyone who suffers from migraines knows that they can derail your entire day (or days) very quickly. That’s why many fans of the popular pain reliever, Excedrin, may initially panic when they hear the company has temporarily halted production of the over-the-counter medication. But don’t worry, there are alternatives.

“Excedrin is simply a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine,” said Dr. Rahul Khare of Innovative Care.  “Frequent migraine sufferers should be able to find relief by taking a regular strength acetaminophen, like Tylenol, along with an aspirin, followed by a cup of coffee. If you have never experienced a migraine before however, contact your doctor.”

Migraines plague thousands of Americans and are a common cause of missed days at work. If you experience frequent migraines and have not found something to effectively relieve your pain, schedule an appointment today. The team at Innovative Express Care is available to discuss traditional therapies, as well as treatments such as medical cannabis and Botox, which have allowed many patients to break free from the grip of regular migraines.

7 Ways to Lower Cholesterol

Innovative Express Care is a primary and urgent care in Lincoln Park, Chicago. They work with patients that have high cholesterol and give great advice on how to keep it down naturally. As you may know, there are two types of cholesterol: HDL, known as the good cholesterol and LDL, known as bad cholesterol. 

Eat foods high in HDL

HDL is known as good cholesterol. HDL carries bad cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver which removes the cholesterol from your body. Some foods rich in HDL are oats, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish. 

Avoid foods low in LDL

LDL is known as the bad cholesterol. LDL raises your chances of having heart disease, heart attack, or stroke by clogging your arteries. It is also linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. Foods to avoid are pretty simple. That means no junk food (chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, soda), fried foods, and red meat or fatty pork.

Eat more fruits & veggies

Colorful fruits and vegetables should be added to your diet. Any natural produce with no cholesterol and low-fat is a great base for a healthy diet. 


Losing weight and maintaining a healthy BMI will help you lose LDL. If you exercise for 30 minutes each day, it raises your HDL which will overall lower your LDL. 

Quit Smoking

Smoking is linked to an increase in LDL, the bad cholesterol. The added chemicals and nicotine in cigarettes make your artery walls stiff, makes your blood vessels narrow,  makes your blood thicker, and increases your blood pressure and heart rate. When you quit smoking it raises your HDL, the good cholesterol.

Limit Alcohol Use

Using alcohol frequently raises LDL. It is even worse if you are mixing alcohol with sugary soda and juices. Yet, drinking wine in moderation has been linked to lowering LDL and raises HDL in the body.  

Manage Stress

Long term stress is very bad for your heart, especially your cholesterol levels. It can raise LDL both directly and indirectly. Stress  can raise cholesterol directly through hemoconcentration, cortisol, fatty acids, and it also causes other negative effects on the heart that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, etc. It indirectly raises LDL, because a stressed person is more prone to eating unhealthier and not exercising. You should spend time each day to manage your stress levels. Take a yoga class, work on your breathing, find time to do what you love outside of work, spend time with friends, or even read your favorite book. Lastly, make sure you get a good night’s rest!

Schedule an appointment with our primary care doctors today.

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!