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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.

Understanding Back Pain

Back Pain

You deadlifted 680 pounds and won first place at the powerlifting meet yesterday. Congratulations! To celebrate the win, you enjoy dinner with your family. Then, as if you did not exercise your lifting abilities enough, you let the kids take turns getting piggy back rides in and out of the restaurant. To top it all off, your wife got in on the action and took a piggy back ride for herself. But then, the next morning, you can’t even get out of bed.

What Could Be Wrong With Your Back?

There is no question that your back has taken on a lot. It is achy and stiff. You need relief. It is understandable to be worried as you have always been able-bodied and strong. You need to be sure that your pain is not the result of an injury. Back injuries do frequently happen during sports and exercise.

Injuries that result from sports and exercise tend to impact the spine, soft tissue, and fascia (the tissue that encases your muscles and other organs). About 20 percent of all back injuries occur in the lower back. Sports like running or weightlifting usually cause injuries to the lower back because of the steady repetitive motion and impact. The upper back has a decreased chance for injury because it is not as mobile and has increased muscle and bone support. However, weight training can be a contributor to upper back injuries as well. Common injuries to the upper back are muscle strains and rib fractures.

Test and Diagnosis

Your doctor may run one or more of the following tests to determine the underlying cause of your back pain:

• Range of motion tests

• Blood and urine lab tests to ensure the pain is not caused by an infection

• MRI scans to analyze soft tissue (Doctors generally use imaging to diagnose chronic back pain.)

• EMG scans to check for nerve or muscle damage

Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to debilitating back pain. Don’t let it continue to limit your ability to be your family’s superhero. With speedy patient care, a compassionate expert staff, and a wide range of medical treatments, Innovative Express Care will have you feeling better quickly, efficiently, and affordably. And even if you throw out your back on a Sunday morning, you’re in luck. We are open seven days a week. Our well-trained and professional team of caregivers will have you feeling like a superhero again in no time!

 

Image Source: Eugenio “The Wedding Traveler” WILMAN

Flu Season: 2018

 Influenza
It’s official: flu season is here and it’s going full throttle. Here’s what you have to know about this year’s influenza virus: The efficacy of the influenza vaccine this year is poor. Actual research shows the vaccine is only 10% effective. It is interesting to note that some are saying it is due to scientists missing the main strains. Others state that it is not because scientists missed the strains (that’s the usual cause of decreased efficacy). The culprit this time is that the manufacturing technique had decreased the efficacy.
It actually does not matter. One thing we know, due to the cold weather (this makes us all stay inside and transmit the virus to each other at a high rate) along with the ineffective flu shot this year, we have a really high rate of influenza.

Bottom line: Many people are getting sick with influenza right now.

Innovative Express Care Can Help

Here at Innovative Express Care, we want to make sure that we can prepare you as much as possible for the recent outbreak of influenza. If you start coming down with the symptoms: fever, body aches, cough, and severe fatigue, come to Innovative Express Care for a quick but important visit. We will swab you for Influenza. We use the Alere i influenza A and B Rapid Flu Test. The awesome part about this is, it takes particles of your nose, amplifies the DNA giving us the highest sensitivity and specificity of any rapid test. Here’s the funny (but not so funny part): Northwestern Memorial Hospital does not even have this test (nor does Illinois Masonic). So, yes, it’s the best test for influenza in the city.

The Reason to Visit Us at Innovative Express Care

We can prescribe Tamiflu. As long as you see us within 2 days of your symptoms, we can prescribe the antiviral medication, Tamiflu, which will decrease your symptoms by up to 2 entire days (although this sounds like a minimal time period, imagine feeling better by Friday vs Sunday).
Getting a firm diagnosis is important. When you tell your employer that you had been tested and are positive for Influenza B, it gives you credibility (and sympathy). If you get Tamiflu (you can only get this via prescription), you can actually get back to work quicker!
Up to 7% of people in Chicago will get the flu this year. If you are one of them, come by and we can help you quickly!

What’s up with that stomach ache?

stomach ache

What’s up with that stomach ache?

It’s all too easy to blame that stomach ache on bad take out from last night. Or, possibly, that ominous rumbling in your stomach is the result of eating too much ice cream. Like so many of us, you might think that most stomach issues are because of eating the wrong things or getting too stressed at work.

When your stomach hurts, you feel miserable and can make everyone around you feel miserable. Keeping a few helpful things in mind will allow you to get through your abdominal pain with little fuss. You should always consider a few important things before relying completely on home remedies.

What causes this awful stomach pain, anyway?

Stomach pain and abdominal pain, unfortunately, have many causes. Likely suspects are indigestion, stomach viruses, or constipation. Women sometimes have abdominal pain at “that time of the month.” Food poisoning is also a possibility, making theories about “bad take out” more plausible. More serious causes might include gallstones, hernias, or even appendicitis.

Finding the culprit

In order to pinpoint the problem, your doctor will need to obtain your medical history and perform a thorough physical exam. Additionally, a doctor in an urgent care facility may choose to order an X-ray, some blood tests, or, depending on the location of the pain, imaging, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan.

Treatment options

If the doctor determines that your discomfort is the result of a simple case of indigestion, an over the counter medicine like milk of magnesia should clear you right up. However, if your issue is more chronic, your healthcare provider may recommend some dietary changes.

Consume food as part of several smaller meals, instead of three big meals. It is much easier for your digestive system to handle smaller portions. Also, be sure to avoid fried or spicy food, both of which can cause painful acid reflux.

Drink plenty of water to ward off dehydration. Also, limit your alcohol consumption, which not only causes further dehydration but sometimes irritates the digestive tract.

Further ways to comfort yourself

When your pain is at its worst, a heating pad might help a lot, with minimal effort on your part. Just use caution if you’re tired and might end up nodding off – you don’t want to burn yourself.

Also, find ways to reduce the stress that can further aggravate your abdominal pain. Yoga, meditation and low-intensity exercise can help.

If you experience stomach pain, don’t worry. You don’t have to suffer. Head over to Innovative Express Care, where we can help you get to the root of your pain and feeling better with our wide range of diagnostic services and treatment options.

Image Source: celticsaga