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Innovative Care to Offer Monoclonal Antibody Treatment to COVID Positive Patients

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Regen-COV infusion may lessen severity of virus and reduce the risk of complications for high-risk patients

COVID-19 can be serious, even life-threatening. If you test positive for COVID-19, and have symptoms, seeking monoclonal antibody treatment within the first 10 days may help you fight the virus and avoid serious complications and even death. Monoclonal antibody treatment is intended for people who are at a high risk of serious illness. Innovative Care will begin offering monoclonal antibody treatment to patients. 

Monoclonal antibodies are produced in a laboratory. They serve as substitute antibodies that help our immune systems mimic the defense of natural COVID-19 antibodies. Innovative Care uses the monoclonal antibody Regen-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together, made by Regeneron) to treat COVID positive patients. This treatment received FDA EUA approval in November, yet it is not widely available. Innovative Care is committed to fighting COVID and proud to offer a treatment for those who are fighting the virus. More information on Regen-COV can be found here. Insurance is accepted for this treatment. 

“We have been here to test and treat patients since the start of the pandemic. This is a natural progression for us to continue serving our community with COVID testing and care,” said Rahul Khare, MD, CEO and founder of Innovative Care. “Monoclonal antibodies attach to the spike protein and may aid your immune system as it works to fight the virus.”

Innovative Care will treat patients who qualify at their dedicated COVID clinic. Each visit begins with a provider consultation. If the patient opts to receive treatment, Regen-COV will be administered during the same appointment. The total infusion time is 20 minutes. Patients may also choose to forgo treatment. More information about what to expect can be found online here.  

Insurance Accepted

Innovative COVID accepts most major insurance plans, and 99 percent of people who get this treatment will not get a bill or pay for monoclonal antibody treatment. If the bill is not covered by insurance, there are funds to get this covered. By this mechanism, patients will not pay anything out of pocket for this treatment. If you do not have any medical insurance, your treatment will be covered under the federal CARES Act. 

More Information

Innovative Care has operated a COVID testing site for nearly 18 months. They are a leader in COVID testing and were among the first in Chicago to offer COVID antibody testing. Innovative Care also offers COVID vaccines at their Downers Grove clinic. For more information, visit Innovative Care online

COVID Cases Climbing at Innovative Care Testing Center

A sudden spike in COVID-19 test positivity rates suggests the virus is making its way back into our community. Innovative COVID, our testing site located at 1111 W. Diversey Parkway, is seeing an average positivity rate of around 5% this week to date. Just two weeks ago, the positivity rate at our clinic was holding steady at around 0.5 to 1%. 

This is a dramatic increase in positivity rate. Right on the heels of Lollapalooza and the city opening up. If you haven’t already, you’re going to be hearing about someone you know getting COVID even after getting the vaccine. Let’s figure out what this means.

Who is at Risk?

Unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, period. If you are eligible to get vaccinated, please do so. This is our best defense against COVID. Vaccinated individuals are not 100 percent protected from the virus, but they have a far lower risk of serious illness. Vaccination offers a significant level of protection to the individual. It also helps protect others around you. 

What is the Delta Variant? 

The CDC is watching new strains closely, as variants of the virus have the potential to spark new waves of illness. One variant in particular that is on the CDC watch list is the Delta strain (B.1.617.2). This mutation of COVID-19 was first detected in India in February 2021. This strain of COVID-19 is active in the United States and should be taken seriously. Early data has shown that if you have been vaccinated, the strain most likely will not affect you. Unvaccinated individuals are at the greatest risk. That said, breakthrough infections (COVID-19 in people who are vaccinated) do happen. The good news is this…if you’ve been vaccinated, you will have a lighter, more mild case of the virus. The flu vaccine works very much the same way. Getting the flu vaccine does not mean you can’t catch the flu. It does however mean that if you do catch it, your case will be more mild due to the fact that you have some level of protection. I strongly recommend that anyone who is eligible be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Who should be tested for COVID-19?
  • Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should be tested, whether they are vaccinated or not
  • Unvaccinated individuals who have had a known exposure to the COVID-19 virus should be tested 5-7 days after that exposure, even if they do not have symptoms. 
If I’m vaccinated and get exposed, do I really need to get tested?

This is a tricky one. Here’s the issue, the Delta strain is extremely contagious. As we are seeing at Innovative Care, the vaccine does not fully protect you from getting COVID-19 again. You’ve probably seen news stories about this, but what the media does not mention enough is this: If you have received a vaccine, the risk of you being hospitalized due to COVID-19 illness is very low

Which means: vaccinated people can get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, however, their illness is extremely mild. But here’s the other tricky part, these people with mild symptoms who are positive for COVID-19 are still contagious. There are children and unvaccinated individuals who are still susceptible to getting very sick, or may even die, from a COVID-19 illness. This means that if you are exposed to COVID-19, and will be with people who are vulnerable (unvaccinated or have significant comorbidities), you should get tested.

Catching COVID-19 cases early allows us to isolate and stop the virus from spreading to others. Innovative Care offers COVID-19 testing seven days a week at our Diversey clinic. Appointments are recommended, but not required. Walk-ins are welcome. 

Will we see another shutdown?

While we certainly hope not, it is possible that we will see restrictions be put back in place. Numerous countries are struggling with a resurgence of COVID-19. Mask requirements, and if needed, restrictions play an important role in protecting those most vulnerable. Our priority remains to get as many people vaccinated as possible so we can continue to keep businesses open and events happening. 

Avoid COVID Fatigue

After 16 plus months of COVID-19 talk, it’s normal to be “over it” and want to move on. Let’s face it…everyone wishes this was all just a bad dream. Sadly, it’s not, and it will take effort from all of us to get rid of COVID-19 in our community. Our team has been here since day one, and we will continue to serve our community through virus testing and care. I ask that you do your part as well. Get vaccinated. Get tested if you are symptomatic and take isolation guidelines seriously if you are unvaccinated and exposed to the virus. If we all continue to do our part, we will continue to enjoy dinners out, baseball games, concerts and more. Hang in there, Chicago!

Flu shots now available

flu shot 2020

 

Flu season is expected to begin in just a few short weeks. According to Dr. Khare, this year, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine. Wondering why? Here are three solid reasons:

  1. The flu vaccine offers your best defense against the flu

    It’s that simple. Yes, we know you have a friend who swears that it makes him or her sick. This is false. The flu vaccine significantly lowers your chance of getting sidelined by the flu this season. It will also dramatically reduce your symptoms if you do in fact contract the flu.

  2. COVID-19 is still active in the community

    Flu symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. If you catch the flu, it will not only sideline you physically, but it will also warrant that you get a COVID-19 test and keep you in quarantine while you wait for the results. Getting a flu vaccine is simple, affordable and will help you stay healthy so you can resume your normal activities. 

  3. Staying well will reduce your COVID-19 risk

    The best way to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 is to wear a mask in public, get the flu vaccine and continue to social distance.

Flu Vaccines now available at Innovative Express Care Urgent Care

Flu vaccines are available by appointment at our urgent care clinic located at 2400 N. Ashland Avenue (corner of Ashland and Fullerton). You must be well, with no symptoms of illness, to get the vaccine. Schedule your flu shot here. 

Patients who have an appointment for COVID-19 testing may request a flu shot during their visit to 1111 W. Diversey Parkway. The flu shot is only offered as an add-on to your COVID-19 swab. Patients must be well, with no signs of illness or fever to get their flu shot. 

When should I get my flu vaccine? 

Flu activity generally begins in October and runs into the spring months. The earlier you get vaccinated the better because it takes two weeks to build up your immunity. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six-months of age and older, unless you are allergic. It is especially important for high-risk individuals, which include infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as those with underlying health conditions. 

Book Your Flu Shot at 2400 N Ashland

Innovative Express Care Helps Chicago Businesses Get Back to Work

Occupational Health COVID-19

It’s official. Illinois has flattened the curve and we are heading into phase III. This is exciting news for the restaurants, retail stores and other businesses who have been sidelined due to the pandemic. How we take this next step is critical. Innovative Express Care can help. Our team offers cost-effective virus testing, antibody testing and counsel on best practices for businesses to help them ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers. We take your employee’s insurance and also treat uninsured and undocumented patients for free. We’ll even come to you!

Businesses must understand that operating in the COVID-19 environment requires preventive measures and careful planning. This virus isn’t going anywhere, so we need to establish firm protocols and make them commonplace to prevent future outbreaks. COVID-19 swab testing, for the active virus, before or on the first day back at work will help you get off to a good start. Monitoring the health of your workforce is also important, as is having a plan in place for what you’ll do if someone does become ill. 

Innovative Express Care accepts insurance for COVID-19 testing, making this service a sure win for employers. A reasonable fee applies for ongoing medical counsel, additional testing or medical care for ill employees. We are here to help businesses both large and small, and across all industries, protect their employees and customers.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

Initial Baseline Testing

  • It’s extremely important to give your employees confidence that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe. Your employees understand that there’s a risk to returning to work. But have you done everything you can to protect them? The first thing to do is COVID-19 swab testing for all employees. The last thing you want is to re-open and then immediately have an outbreak due to one person coming back to work with the virus. It closed down the Ford plant recently. While testing every employee prior to coming back to work takes a bit of time and money, it shows your employees that you are serious about their health, and it helps to ensure a smooth re-opening.

Temperature Screening Before and After Work

  • Until there are no cases in Illinois, we must take measures to protect employees and prevent outbreaks. Daily temperature checks combined with asking employees if they have felt feverish, have experienced body aches, or have a cough is important to make sure your employees do not spread this virus.

Strict Isolation for Symptomatic Employees

  • You must have a strict policy in place when employees present with a fever. Prepare protocols on how you will get employees tested and evaluated by a physician quickly, as well as procedures for coming back to work. We offer same-day COVID-19 testing in our parking lot (while the patient remains in their car). We can then follow up with them via a virtual telemedicine visit to assess their symptoms and determine if they are cleared to get back to work. We will provide a note if they are approved to return to work.

Random Testing

  • For 2 weeks, there should be random testing on your high risk employees (those working in close contact with others). COVID-19 tests are generally covered by insurance, and Innovative Express Care can help you establish these protocols.

Although we will come to you, ongoing care can be done quickly and cost-effectively with telemedicine. We have used telemedicine to provide convenient care since I opened the clinic five years ago. When COVID-19 struck, we increased our telemedicine capacity by 1,000 percent and used virtual appointments to evaluate patients before they came on-site for testing. Telemedicine access is now available to employers who want to ensure their employees have quick access to care if someone becomes ill.

For more information about occupational health services at Innovative Express Care, please visit us online and complete our online form

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.

Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis

Sinusitis

Stuffy nose, drainage down the back of your throat and tenderness around your eyes or forehead are the most common signs and symptoms of sinusitis. Sinusitis describes inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Healthy sinuses are filled with air. When they become blocked and filled with fluid, often cause by a common cold, germs can grow, resulting in a sinus infection.

Signs and symptoms of sinusitis:

  • Nasal inflammation
  • Thick discharge from the nose, often discolored
  • Postnasal drip down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Lack of taste or smell

Sinusitis may also cause:

  • Sore throat
  • Ear pain
  • Aching in your teeth or jaw
  • Cough
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue

If you think you may have a sinus infection, call your provider for an appointment. Antibiotics may be necessary to clear your symptoms. Innovative Express Care has a walk-in urgent care and offers same-day appointments with our primary care providers.

Pink Eye: Four Facts

Pink Eye

As the alarm rings, you try to open your eyes and prepare for the day. But one feels…stuck? You pry it open and look in the mirror, only to see redness and a goopy mess – pink eye. Pink eye, officially known as conjunctivitis, is very common, and happens when the inside layer of the eyelid (the conjunctiva) becomes inflamed. Pink eye can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergens. Following are four facts you should know about pink eye and how to relieve the itching, redness and other frustrating symptoms that come with the condition.

Pink eye is highly contagious 

Conjunctivitis is very common among children, particularly those who are in daycare or school settings, but adults can also be infected. The illness is spread by touching your infected eye and then a surface, such as toys in a daycare, which then transmits the bacteria to another individual.

Hand washing is your best defense against pink eye 

Hand hygiene is key in avoiding pink eye. It’s also important to try to resist the temptation to touch your eyes unless you have freshly washed hands.

Antibiotic eye drops may be necessary 

Bacterial causes of pink eye will only clear up with an antibiotic eye drop. Signs of bacterial conjunctivitis include yellow or green discharge and sticky eyelids.

Call your doctor if you experience these symptoms

Some pink eye is caused by allergens or environmental irritants and will go away on its own. However, if you have bacterial conjunctivitis or symptoms that may be associated with another medical condition, you’ll need to contact your doctor. Symptoms that warrant a call to your doctor include:

    • Yellow or green discharge from your eye
    • Eyelids stuck together in the morning
    • Severe pain in your eye when you look at bright light
    • Vision impairment in the affected eye
    • High fever, chills, face pain or vision loss
    • Newborns with pink eye always require medical attention

Coronavirus: Advice from the Innovative Express Care Travel Medicine Team

Coronavirus

If you’ve seen the news recently, you’ve no doubt heard about the new coronavirus outbreak in China that has spread to several other countries, including the United States. Should we panic? No. Do you need to cancel any and all International travel plans? No. However, general precautions should always be taken to prevent the spread of illness, and the CDC is recommending that people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. Below is information on coronavirus and tips from the Innovative Express Care travel medicine team for those traveling abroad.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronavirus refers to are a large group of viruses that are common in animals. In rare cases, these viruses can spread to humans. Typically, a coronavirus presents with mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms, like a common cold. The new coronavirus is believed to be developing into pneumonia for many patients. Patients with weakened immune systems and older adults are the most at risk.

Is coronavirus active in the United States?

There has been confirmed activity in the United States and the situation is rapidly evolving. The CDC has initiated health screenings for travelers coming to the United States from China, to prevent the spread of illness.

I travel abroad for work. Are there any precautions I should take?

The CDC has raised the alert level to “Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel” in response to the outbreak. Their site lists several tips for people traveling to the Wuhan region of China, and symptoms to look for in people who recently visited the country. The CDC is closely monitoring Coronavirus activity and lists the latest information, including risk assessment and travel advice on their website.

Anytime you are planning a trip abroad, it’s good to consult with a travel medicine physician who can share region-specific health information. They will advise you on any precautions to take prior, or during your trip.

About Innovative Express Care Travel Medicine

As an Innovative Express Care travel medicine patient, you will receive one-to-one counseling from a trained medical professional whose specializes in travel medicine and immunizations. We have the most up-to-date travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and world health surveillance sources who monitor outbreaks and other health hazards.

Travel medicine patients receive an official immunization record to keep with their travel documents. We’ll also provide you with a personalized itinerary with specific health and travel information for the countries on your itinerary, consular information, general travel advice, and tips for avoiding common illnesses.

Our travel medicine services include:

  • Vaccines for travel
  • Dengue fever prevention
  • Malaria prevention and medication
  • Traveler’s diarrhea prevention and medication
  • Destination warnings and alerts
  • Telemedicine consults if you get sick while you are traveling

How to Handle a Laceration or Cut

We’ve all been there. You’re cutting up an apple to make a smoothie. As you throw a slice into the blender, you slice your hand up as well. It’s bleeding heavily. Maybe not like that Julia Child skit on Saturday Night Live, but you think you may need stitches. What now? Should you handle it yourself? Should you go to the emergency room? This guide will help.

Call 911:

  • Spurting blood
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Neck, eye, throat, chest, or abdomen wound
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Severe pain
  • Light-headedness

Do not remove an embedded object from the wound!

Visit emergency care:

Here are guidelines from WebMD and UVA Medical School:

If the laceration, or cut, doesn’t stop bleeding after 5 to 10 minutes of pressure, seek treatment. If it’s on your face, genitals, across a joint, on hands, feet or chest, or if there is exposed fat, muscle tendon, or bone, go to emergency care.

Animal bite? You need treatment. Human bite? You need treatment. And possibly garlic. (If bitten by your 3-year-old, you have other problems as well.)

Go to the emergency room if the cut is gaping or jagged or may result in a large amount of scarring. If the object that caused the cut was dirty or rusty, or the cut has something embedded in it, go see a physician. Don’t try to pull the object out. It may cause more bleeding or damage.

Head for treatment if the injury looks infected. Signs of infection include redness spreading from the wound, swelling, green or yellow discharge, or warm and tender skin.

A wound on the bottom of the foot, such as a nail through the shoe, should also receive treatment from a professional.

Before your clinic visit

Keep applying pressure if the bleeding continues and hold the injury above your heart, if possible. Probably don’t try this, however, if you have a nail in your foot.

Do not apply any kind of tourniquet. Do not use peroxide, iodine, or rubbing alcohol. They may damage the tissue.

If the bleeding stops, run warm water over the cut and gently wash with mild soap. Rinse again. Apply antibiotic cream and cover the injury with gauze to prevent infection.

If bleeding resumes and the gauze gets soaked, add more pads until the bleeding ceases. Don’t remove the pads. If a bandage is used, do not remove it. If neither are available, use a clean cloth, plastic bags, or even a clean hand.

Try to remember when you had your last tetanus shot. This is a head-scratcher for many people. But do not take the time to rummage through your old papers for your shot records. You will most likely be asked, but you can estimate.

Move quickly. Don’t take time to let out the cat or bring in the dog. Don’t lower the heat or water the plants. Just go.

What to expect at the clinic

The way the laceration is treated will depend on its size, severity, and location. Repair will most likely be done using one of these methods:

  • Dermabond: This is a type of glue which is made to hold the edges of the wound together. It is used on the face, torso, arms, legs, but not on lips, joints, deep wounds, and hand or foot injuries. Don’t try this at home with Elmer’s or Gorilla Glue! They won’t work.
  • Steristrips: For shallow cuts that are clean and even.
  • Stitches: These are used for deeper cuts that have jagged edges, or exposed fat and muscle tissue.
  • Staples: Used for injuries on the scalp, neck, torso, buttocks, arms, and legs.

Innovative Express Care is the place to go, not only for urgent care for injuries and illness, but also for primary care. IEC has state-of-the-art technology, telemedicine, online appointment arrangements, innovative ideas, and transparency. IEC is the best-rated urgent care facility in the Chicago area.

Image Source: Quinn Dombrowski

Earaches and Ear Pain

There is a dull ache in your right ear and you cannot seem to shake it. Did you catch an ear infection from your toddler? Or did some water from the community pool get stuck in there? Either way, it needs to go. Earaches and ear infections can drive you crazy and turn a bomb into a whisper. What’d you say, Sonny?

Causes of ear pain

So what exactly causes that pain in your ear? Ear pain can be caused by a variety of issues from trauma to an infection. Determining the cause of the ear pain will aid in kicking it to the curb.

Earache due to cold

Earaches often stem from lingering colds. Cold viruses can sometimes cause inflammation in the sinuses and ear canals, causing ear pain. This type of earache typically presents with a mild and more gradual pain, and it usually subsides along with the cold. Taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help decrease the inflammation and ease the pain. The best course of action is to wait out the cold and treat the symptoms as they occur.

Earache due to infection

Ear pain due to an infection can often be quite severe. Ear infections are caused most commonly by bacteria infecting the middle ear causing a build up of pus and pressure. Symptoms of an ear infection often include diminished hearing, intense pain, and fever. Ear infections are typically treated with a course of antibiotics.

Ear Injuries

Ear injuries such as a ruptured ear drums can occur from any number of traumas or rough play. Ruptured ear drums and damage to the middle and inner ear can also happen by inserting items such as cotton swabs into the ears incorrectly. These injuries can cause severe pain, bleeding, and dizziness. Ear injuries are common among children and athletes who participate in contact sports. If you incur such an injury, seek immediate medical attention.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear occurs when there is an increase in moisture in the outer ear. Activities such as swimming, showering, and bathing can contribute to the issue. The increase in moisture provides a breeding ground for bacteria that already inhabit the ear canal naturally. The increase in bacterial growth then causes an ear infection. As with other types of ear infections, a course of antibiotics should clear up a case of swimmer’s ear.

Visiting your physician.

It is important to avoid excess moisture and over cleaning your ears. If an earache persists, you may need to seek the care of a physician. Physicians will be able to test, diagnose and treat your ear pain accordingly.

Having an earache of any sort can be upsetting and uncomfortable, but at Innovative Express Care, we utilize telemedicine and the latest technology to bring you top notch care. Our staff will provide a great experience and have your ears feeling better in no time.