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Category: Urgent Care

Five Tips for Keeping Your Ears Warm This Winter (and Why It Matters)

Keeping Your Ears Warm This WinterRemember when Mom would chase after you, insisting you put on your hat and scarf before you headed out into the frigid weather? Remember how you would protest, and maybe even leave that hat and scarf behind?

Turns out, Mom was right.

Our bodies lose copious amounts of heat from our heads, which can affect core body temperature, but that’s not the whole story. Failing to keep your ears protected from cold weather can contribute to, or even cause, hearing loss.

Ears, like your nose, are comprised mostly of cartilage, so there is no insulation (fat) to keep them warm when the temperatures drop. You probably figured that out when you were last in the cold: your nose and ears are usually the first body parts to feel the chill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Our hands and feet are also susceptible to conditions such as frostbite, but that is usually avoided by wearing gloves, socks, and shoes.

In fact, once the temperature hits 59°F, you need to make sure your ears are protected. In many parts of the country, 59°F is hardly bundle-up weather. But at this temperature, your hypothalamus (a small portion of the brain that is responsible for multiple body functions, including temperature control) begins to conserve heat for your internal organs, moving blood away from your extremities (that means your ears).

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Ears Warm in the Winter

Cold ears are annoying, to be sure, but unprotected ears in cold weather can actually be dangerous. When your ears are exposed to cold, bone spurs, also called exostosis, can result. This happens when excess bone grows in the ear canal to protect the ear. This condition is sometimes called surfer’s ear, since surfers who frequent cold water wear wetsuits, but they do not usually protect their ears.

Excess bone growth can be incredibly painful. When that bone growth occurs in the ear canal, it can lead to a host of other problems. Water, dirt, and bacteria can become trapped in the ear and lead to recurring ear infections. The only treatment for exostosis is surgery.

How Can You Keep Your Ears Protected From the Cold?

  • Wear a hat with snug-fitting ear flaps. If wearing a hat is problematic, invest in quality earmuffs.
  • Fleece headbands that cover the ears can be worn under a warm hat or beanie for extra protection.
  • Commercial ear plugs are helpful, but custom-fitting ear plugs, made by a hearing specialist, can provide better protection.
  • If you are just out in the cold for a short time, you can pull your scarf up over your ears or tighten the hood of your jacket. Both of these short-term fixes will help protect your ears from the wind and cold.

For more information on how to protect your ears this winter, contact Premier Urgent Care at (773) 891-2890.

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.
Call (773) 891-2890.
Insurance accepted.

6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

tips for staying healthy this holidayThe holiday season is here, and while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also one of the most stressful. Schedules are full, it’s cold and flu season, and everyone is trying to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

All the bustle and stress of the holiday season can easily cause some people to overlook disease prevention, and cutting corners during daily tasks and chores can easily lead to the spread of infectious diseases and put a damper on your holiday celebrations. The following tips can help you and your loved one stay healthy this holiday season.

Stay Dry

Winter weather means lots of snow and ice. Staying dry is one of the best ways to prevent illness. When the temperature drops and it’s snowing outside, wear a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and waterproof shoes or boots. While it’s a myth that being cold causes a cold, staying outside when you’re cold and wet taxes your body and can lead to poor immune system function.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Tell If You Have the Flu

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Germs and disease-causing bacteria thrive on dirty surfaces and spread easily. Make sure to wash your hands before and after all meals and after personal contact with others. Use warm running water and soap, washing for at least 20 full seconds. Be sure to keep your fingernails trimmed to reasonable lengths and clean under them as well every time you wash.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Hand Washing Techniques

Check Your Vaccination Schedule

Make sure you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations. Try to get them out of the way before the winter weather starts if possible, and pay close attention for any signs of adverse reactions.

Avoid Overindulgence

The holiday season is a great time to enjoy home cooked meals with friends and family, but be careful not to overdo it. Eating too much is taxing on the body and can cause an upset stomach and other gastrointestinal issues. Foods with high levels of sugar can trigger inflammation and other issues.

Ensure All Food Is Cooked Properly

When serving holiday meals, use instant-read meat thermometers to ensure all prepared meats are cooked to appropriate temperatures. Undercooked meat can carry diseases like salmonella and may lead to serious illness.

Get Adequate Rest

You might be very busy over the holidays, but you shouldn’t neglect sleep. Aim for at least six to eight hours of sleep each night and adjust your schedule accordingly. Burning yourself out and tackling your holiday errands without adequate rest is not only stressful for your body, but also leaves you more vulnerable to illness and more prone to accidental injuries.

Come to Premier Urgent Care for Fast, Efficient Treatment

When these health issues do arise, Premier Urgent Care in Chicago can provide safe and timely treatment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for immediate care.

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.

Call (773) 891-2890.

Insurance accepted.

Walk-In Clinic or ER: The Basics for When to Go Where

walk-in clinicAn injury or illness is never convenient. You or someone you love may fall ill on an evening, holiday, or weekend, when you cannot reach your primary care provider for advice. When an injury or illness occurs, knowing when you can go to a walk-in clinic – or when you should report directly in an emergency room – can save you time and additional expense.

When to Use a Walk-In Clinic

A walk-in clinic or urgent care is best for situations where you would normally see your primary care provider, but they are not available. Urgent cares play a vital role in filling the gaps between the family physician and emergency room. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that among patients who visited the ER but were not admitted, nearly half went because their doctor’s office wasn’t open.

Some people use the emergency room as an after-hour clinic but will face long waits for care due to the hospital triage system. A walk-in clinic provides middle ground by addressing patient needs that require prompt care but do not constitute a true medical emergency.

Symptoms appropriate for evaluation and treatment at a walk-in clinic or urgent care include:

●        Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

●        Abdominal pain

●        Dehydration

●        Fever without the presence of a rash

●        Strains, sprains, or minor occupational injuries

●        Flu-like symptoms

●        Small lacerations that require stitching

In general, urgent cares serve as a back-up to your primary care provider. If you have familiar symptoms of a recurring illness – such as an ear infection or UTI – an urgent care can help when your primary care physician is not available.

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Ways to Speed Up You Urgent Care Visit

When Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

The emergency room is best reserved for medical conditions that present a true threat to patient health or safety. Symptoms that require evaluation and treatment in an emergency room include:

●        Chest pain, especially when accompanied by shortness of breath

●        Slurred speech or loss of balance

●        One-sided weakness or numbness

●        Serious or large surface area burns

●        Injuries to the head or eyes

●        Concussion

●        Fever accompanied by a rash

●        Seizures

●        Altered mental status

●        Large broken bones (hands, fingers, feet and toes are fine for an urgent care)

●        Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy

●        Severe flu-like symptoms

Knowing when to go to an emergency room and when to utilize a walk-in clinic can save you time, money, and frustration.

In general, many people use an emergency room because they are unaware a better option is available. When using an emergency room for a minor illness, you could be responsible for expensive co-pays.

A walk-in clinic can fill the gap between your primary care provider and serves as an excellent choice for minor illnesses and injuries. Visit out Urgent Care Services page for more information.

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care. Visit https://premierucchicago.com.

No appointment needed.
Call (773) 891-2890.
Insurance accepted.

4 Ways to Speed up Your Urgent Care Visit

reviewing patient information to speed up urgent care visitPatients often choose to visit urgent care centers because they prefer to avoid the long waiting periods associated with ER services and days-long waiting for their primary care service providers. Because of this increased demand, urgent care centers can get busy and have some wait times, albeit much shorter. Is there anything you can do to minimize this? Follow these tips to speed up your urgent care visit.

Online Check-In

Technology in the medical field not only has made healthcare delivery more effective, but it has also increased convenience for healthcare providers and patients. Many urgent care centers have websites where you can check-in online. This process is even easier if you are a returning patient to the clinic, because most of the information may be on file or in an online account. Online check-in saves time at the location and can guarantee you faster service.

Writing and Gathering Information

A great amount of time is spent looking over your relevant medical information before the actual visit. Show some consideration towards the receptionist, physician, and other staff, and bring as much of your medical information and documents as possible. In general, most urgent care clinics will require you to bring one of the following forms:

  • Valid identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Insurance card (to verify your plan’s coverage and associated co-pays)
  • Method of payment (cash, check, card, etc.)
  • Completed patient forms.

In addition to your documents, you can bring in brief notes describing any symptoms or aspects of your current condition with as much detail as possible. Sometimes, your memory might get hazy, so writing down this information can help the healthcare provider immensely.  

Filling Out Forms Online

Just like with an appointment check-in, technology has expedited the process of filling out forms. Some urgent care clinics allow you to fill out the required forms online as you check-in. You can complete these forms from the comfort of your home and the information can be seamlessly uploaded by the time you arrive at the urgent care.

Resolving Billing

Another way to prevent potential delays and surprises right before your clinic visit is by resolving your financial information before the visit. Research methods of payment for the specific clinic you are visiting and arrive with the currency or method at hand. Also, urgent care clinics accept most forms of insurance, but double-check to ensure the chosen clinic accepts your insurance. Premier Urgent Care Chicago accepts most insurances except Medicaid.

Proper preparation will shorten your wait time, allow the healthcare provider to take better care of you and allow you to get back to the things you need to do.  

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.

Call (773) 891-2890.

Insurance accepted.

What Does Urgent Care Treat?

what does urgent care treatUrgent care clinics such as Premier Urgent Care, are staffed by the same qualified doctors, nurses, and other knowledgeable medical professionals you would see in emergency rooms and private clinics. However, how do you know when you should visit an urgent care center instead of emergency room or other medical facility? Below is the answer to the common question, “What does an urgent care treat and what medical services do they provide?”

Services Offered in Urgent Care Centers

Generally, urgent care centers provide services and treat conditions that are not life-threatening, but also cannot wait for a doctor’s appointment. Urgent care clinics are staffed by doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, and generally have the equipment to perform x-ray and urine exams, as well as blood work. These facilities generally do not have the resources to treat potentially life-threatening symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or slurred speech.

Specifically, the professional medical staff at Premier Urgent Care treats the following conditions:

Click to see a comprehensive list of urgent care services.

Premier Urgent Care also offers occupational health services, which are specifically aimed at employees in a workplace.  

When to Visit an Urgent Care Clinic

Urgent care centers provide a wide variety of services and treatments for several conditions. Generally, patients go to these facilities to treat acute – but not life-threatening – conditions that need immediate attention. There are also other situations that might require you to visit these centers.

  • Affordability. Urgent care facilities usually accept the same insurance plans that primary care clinics do. In addition, they also are a more affordable option for mild and moderate conditions that require immediate treatment compared to emergency room visits. This is a strong benefit for uninsured patients.
  • After-Hours Care. Conditions sometimes develop at the most inconvenient times, specifically when your primary care clinic is closed. Urgent care centers are typically open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and sometimes operate on weekends, which is a wider availability not found in primary care centers.
  • Need for Primary Care Services. Urgent care centers provide several functions that primary care locations do, but with greater accessibility. Some of these services include exams and testing, stiches, basic shots, prescription renewals, and treatment of minor illnesses.  

Learn more about different types of health facilities, such as urgent care clinics, to help you decide which facility can best treat your condition at the appropriate time and with the right resources.

 

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.
Call (773) 891-2890.
Insurance accepted.

Urgent Care or Emergency Room? How to Choose

Urgent Care or Emergency RoomWhat comes to mind when you think of an urgent care clinic? Many people may imagine a stand-alone emergency room (ER). Some people may even use the two terms interchangeably. Even though both medical services have similarities, they also have a few key differences that are important to know in case of an emergency. Keep reading to learn about the similarities and differences between an urgent care and emergency room to determine which one will best meet your needs.

Similarities between Urgent Care and Emergency Room

Both urgent care and ER services share some similarities that make it easy for many people to confuse one with the other.

  • Immediate Care. As their names imply, both facilities specialize in providing medical care as quickly as possible. If you have a medical situation or accident that cannot wait for a traditional doctor’s appointment, the staff in each facility can provide you with medical care immediately.
  • Flexible Staff. The healthcare providers who work in urgent care centers and ERs are trained to deal with a variety of illnesses and injuries. Because both medical services prioritize immediate care for any situation, these experts will treat a wide variety of conditions.
  • Availability. Both services are available at times when traditional physician access is not an option, such as evenings and weekends. Even though urgent care clinics have set schedules and ERs are open 24/7, they both aim for extra availability.

Differences between Urgent Care and ER

A few important differences:

  • Scope of Services. Most people who use urgent care centers generally come in for minor illnesses, injuries, and conditions that can be treated by a physician or nurse practitioner. The healthcare providers at clinics, often times, do not have the training and/or equipment to deal with complex, life-threatening conditions. Conditions such as chest pain, slurred speech or weakness (stroke symptoms), trouble breathing, serious burns, etc. are best treated in an emergency room.
  • Cost Differences. ER services are much more expensive due to several factors, including fees for staff which can include consultants, and equipment, higher insurance co-pays, and more. Urgent cares provide services for less serious conditions at a more affordable price. Consider your situation carefully because you could end up potentially paying thousands of dollars more for care that did not require an ER.
  • Wait Times. Even though both services specialize in fast care, your wait time could be dramatically different depending on the situation. You could wait many hours to get a few stitches on your finger or tested for strep throat. ERs utilize a triage system that prioritizes people with more emergent conditions. Someone potentially having a heart attack will always go ahead of someone with a small cut or sore throat.

Even though urgent care clinics and ERs focus on immediate treatment, they each have strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation. Knowing which one to choose can make a significant difference in the type of care you receive, how long you wait, and how much you end up paying.

Better Doctors. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.

Call (773) 891-2890.

Insurance accepted.