It’s National Grilling Month!

grill safety tipsWith the Fourth of July being the kickoff for the summer cookout season, it should be no surprise that July is National Grilling Month.  The warm weather calls for hamburgers and hotdogs, and a number of other tasty foods you can throw on the grill!

But not only is July National Grilling Month, it’s also a peak month for grill fires.  To ensure that your grill is safe this month and for the rest of the summer, here are a few things you should know about grills.

Propane & Gas Grills

One of the biggest hazards associated with propane and gas grills is that the line connected to the grill can break or leak, which can result in a fire.  It can be easy to forget to turn off the gas tank, which can lead to gas slowly leaking out. It can also be a hazard to start up the grill if the gas tank is on but the flame does not ignite.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are generally safer than propane and gas grills but can also be the cause of a fire when items are left too close to the grill and can catch fire, or if the proper starter fluid wasn’t purchased.    

You can avoid fires by following these safety tips!

Clean your grill prior to usage

Grease, fat, and other potential combustibles can accumulate on the grill, and if you’re not keeping it clean, little crumbs that are out of sight can easily cause a fire.  Keep your grill clean by removing grease buildup before and after use.

Pro tip!  You can use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape away large bits of food, and use a stiff wire brush to scrub the rest.

Keep the grill outdoors

Most grills are for outdoor use only, especially for charcoal and propane grills.  Grills come in all sizes, so pick one that’s the best and the safest for your home.  Your grill should be kept and stored away from your house, deck railings, and from overhanging branches.

Never leave your grill unattended

While grilling is simple, it does require constant attention, from making sure the food is thoroughly cooked to making sure your dog is not running underneath the grill.  

Once you start putting food on the grill, monitor your food until it’s ready to be served.  Along with keeping an eye on your food, it’s also important to keep your little ones and pets away from grills to avoid accidents.  A safe distance is at least three feet away from the grill.

If you smell gas, call 911

When using gas and propane grills, make sure the connections are good and there are no leaks.  If you’re using a propane grill and you smell gas, turn the burners off immediately and call 911.


Burn Treatment at Synergy Immediate Care

Minor burn from the grill?  You should seek treatment at Synergy Immediate Care if your burn:

  • Becomes painful or smelly
  • Has a waxy, white-colored appearance
  • Has a dark-brown appearance
  • Causes a raised, leathery texture

For more information about burn treatments or other services we provide, or to make an appointment, please call us at 703-942-5331.

Fireworks Safety 101

It wouldn’t feel like the Fourth of July without a dazzling firework show, and while fireworks are gorgeous, it’s important to remember that they can seriously injure you.

Fireworks hold such a high-risk for injury, including skin burns, eye injuries, and potential fires.

If you plan on hosting your own fireworks show, here are a few safety tips so you can prevent yourself and your guests from getting hurt.

Read the instructions

This should go without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder to always read the caution labels and instructions before purchasing.

Wear safety glasses for shooting fireworks

It is a possibility that shooting fireworks can result in eye injuries, so be sure to keep your eyes covered whenever possible.

Light fireworks in an open, clear area

Fireworks should be lit in clear areas away from cars, houses, and large buildings.  You should also try to minimize contact with objects that could catch on fire, such as clothes, chairs, or even plants.

Never let children handle fireworks

With fireworks and sparklers being hot enough to melt some metals, imagine what they could do to yours or your little one’s hands.  Adults should always supervise fireworks activities, as well as avoid lighting fireworks around small children.

Never re-light a dud

Don’t keep trying to re-light a dud firework.  Wait at least 20 minutes before handling the firework, then allow it soak and cool down in a bucket of water.  

Douse the fireworks with water

Once you’re done, be sure to soak firework devices with water to ensure the fire is fully put out.

 

The best way to protect you and your family from getting injured is to not light your fireworks, and leave it to the professionals at your local fireworks show!  But if you plan on lighting your own, be sure to follow these safety tips and enjoy the show!

If you happen to face a minor injury, please be sure to visit Synergy Immediate Care for medical treatment.  We treat a range of non-life-threatening injuries, including minor burns and rashes. If you’ve experienced a minor injury or would like more information about our services, please call to book an appointment at 703-942-5331.

June is Men’s Health Month

man cleaning car“Men take better care of their cars than their own bodies.”  

Many mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters can say this about the men in their lives.  Men are notorious for putting on a brave face when injured, forgoing a doctor’s visit when a cough has been lingering for several weeks, or putting off an annual wellness exam.  But neglecting overall health can lead to a number of health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, and cancer, which are leading causes of death for American men.

With June being Men’s Health Month, there is no better time for men to take control over their health and start adopting better lifestyle habits.  Here are a few ways you can get your health on track:

  1. Watch your diet: A part of a healthy diet is including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, but one overlooked aspect of maintaining a healthy diet includes avoiding processed foods, added sugars, sodium, and cholesterol.
  2. Get moving: Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart as well as keep off unnecessary weight.  Pick up a beloved hobby like swimming or bike riding, or join an adult sports league to get your body moving!
  3. Have an annual checkup: Having a primary care physician is beneficial to your overall health by having a doctor with whom you feel comfortable sharing your health concerns as well as being a guide to facilitate necessary lifestyle changes.
  4. Get screened: Many chronic diseases are easily preventable by getting immunizations as well as getting screened for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, STDs/STIs, and other health conditions.
  5. Check your mental health: Mental health is just as important as physical health, so it’s important to recognize symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, or substance abuse.

 

You know your health is at stake when your car in better shape than you. Are you ready to get your health in check?  At Synergy Immediate Care, our team of medical professionals want to help you make lifestyle changes to improve your health for the long run.  Visit us for your next wellness exam, immunizations, or visit with one of our specialists for endocrinology or mental health.

For more information on the services we provide, please call to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our medical professionals at 703-942-5331.

4 Ways You Can Help Someone Living With PTSD

holdingAfter a traumatic incident, many people can easily move along with their day-to-day lives while others have painful thoughts and feelings that can rehash at any given moment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a lingering reminder that brings bouts of flashbacks and triggers that can affect someone’s livelihood.  PTSD symptoms are often triggered by something internally (thoughts or feelings) or externally (outside of the body such as a stressful situation or environment).  

Unless you or someone you know live with PTSD, it can be difficult to understand why an event that happened years ago can cause triggers and flashbacks today.  Those who live with PTSD don’t need to simply “forget about it,” but instead need support and understanding from their loved ones. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, celebrated in June, is dedicated to raising awareness about the effects and how each of us can help make their lives just a little easier.

Here are four ways you can help someone living with PTSD.

Learn about their triggers 

Some situations that are seemingly normal such as swimming at the beach can pose a mental or physical threat to someone living with PTSD who suffered from a drowning incident as a child.  Take the time to learn and understand the triggers of your loved one who is living with PTSD and be sensitive to what might cause a negative reaction.

Try to not minimize their feelings 

Telling someone who lives with PTSD that their feelings are insignificant is detrimental to their thought and recovery process.  Instead, encourage them with positive affirmations and allow them to be vulnerable.

Know that they may not always want to be vulnerable 

A listening ear is always needed, but know that an individual may not want to share their feelings the moment you ask, “What’s wrong?”  If they are not open to speaking, affirm that you will be there when it’s needed. When they have the courage to talk about their thoughts, be sure to give them space without offering advice and simply listen.

Help make new, special memories 

While you don’t want to minimize the incident and make someone dealing with PTSD feel less than, it’s also important to illuminate happy moments in life and create new and special memories.  Whether it’s a nice weekend getaway or a party just because, providing a loving, caring environment is just what a person suffering from PTSD needs to know the people around them are being supportive.

 

Psychiatry & Mental Health Therapy at Synergy Immediate Care

Treatment for PTSD is not an overnight solution, which is why at Synergy Immediate Care, our on-staff psychiatrist and mental health therapist specialize in the evaluation, treatment, and management of PTSD for long-term results.  For more information about our services, please call to book an appointment with one of our medical professionals at 703-942-5331.

What You Need to Know About Abnormal Pap Smears

woman doctor visitDisclaimer: Abnormal doesn’t necessarily mean “cancerous.”

Getting your first Pap smear can be a bit nerve-racking, and it can be even more unsettling after receiving a call from your gyno explaining that your recent Pap smear came back abnormal.

Initially, “abnormal” can sound ominous.  When you hear the word abnormal associated with HPV and cervical cancer, there’s no doubt that your mind will think the worst.

First things first: take a deep breath and relax.  Abnormal does not necessarily mean cancerous.

Why do I need a Pap smear?

The purpose of a Papanicolaou test, also known as a Pap smear, usually performed with a pelvic exam, is to test for any changes in cervical cells that could be precancerous.  Women typically have their first Pap smear around the age of 21.  In women over the age of 30, the Pap test may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer.

So, what causes an abnormal Pap smear?

When reviewing your results, it could be a possibility that your doctor detected a certain amount of cervical dysplasia, which are abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix that can range from mild to severe.

Abnormal Pap smear test results can mean a few things:

  • There’s inflammation in your cervix that is not worrisome
  • You may have an HPV infection
  • Your doctor detected potentially precancerous cells

Some risk factors that can cause abnormal Pap smear include:

  • A Pap smear that identified precancerous cells
  • A diagnosis of cervical cancer1
  • An HPV infection
  • A weakened immune system due to organ transplant, chemotherapy, or chronic corticosteroid use
  • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth

So, what happens after an abnormal Pap smear?

When your doctor detects precancerous cells, the prognosis and survival rate for cervical cancer is very high with follow up testing and treatment.  If your Pap smear is abnormal, your doctor may perform additional HPV testing or a colposcopy.  Your doctor might also recommend follow-up Pap smear testing at least every six months to a year.

 

Pap Smears at Synergy Immediate Care in Tysons, VA

At Synergy Immediate Care, we stress the importance of visiting a medical provider for an annual exam and regular screenings.  Should your results come back abnormal, we’ll be sure to schedule you for follow up appointments and discuss preventative procedures and get your health in control. We have both primary care providers and a gynecologist (women’s health specialist). For more information about our gynecology program, please call to speak with one of our medical staff at 703-942-5331.

Why Virtual Doctors Can’t Replace Primary Care Physicians

doctor visitNow that you can do pretty much anything from your phone, from ordering your groceries to finding your next date, the next frontier is for a doctor to diagnose your illness without you having to leave the comfort of your couch.  However, there is a negative side to not visiting a doctor: the person to person interaction.

Virtual doctors are on the horizon of convenient health care services but cannot replace what a doctor’s visit can do for your overall health.  There are so many benefits to having a one on one relationship with your primary care physician, and here are five reasons why you should use your phone to schedule an in-person doctor visit.

To establish a relationship with your physician

If you never make an appointment with a doctor, you can’t ever have a relationship with one.  Having a regular physician means having someone who knows your medical history and who will work with you to improve your current health and to suggest lifestyle habits that encourage longevity.

To establish your health risk

When you have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or cancer, you may be at risk for these health conditions, too.  Having a relationship with your doctor allows you to feel comfortable with sharing your family history and discuss ways to determine what screening tests and procedures you may need.

To keep your body in check

A virtual doctor can’t tell how you went from wearing a size 6 to a size 10 within a year’s time!  And even if you can still fit into your jeans, there are other health factors and vital signs such as your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as laboratory testing, that need to be monitored regularly. This can only be done in person.

To keep your mind in check

Having a regular wellness exam performed by your primary care physician not only keeps your body in check, but it also keeps your mind in check.  Having a routine mental health screening by your physician can help identify warning signs that can be referred to a psychiatrist or a mental health therapist.

To prevent anything from going bad to worse

Health protection and prevention is key when it comes to staying healthy for the long haul.  Your doctor can perform routine blood tests and vaccinations that your virtual doctor obviously cannot do.  Although it may seem like a hassle now, just an hour of your time at the doctor’s office can uncover potential diseases and infections that can be treated early on before it alters the trajectory of your life.

 

Primary Care at Synergy Immediate Care in Tysons, VA

At Synergy Immediate Care, we put our patients’ health first, which is why we provide customized primary care that caters to our patients’ individual needs.  We also provide a range of specialty services such as diabetes and thyroid maintenance, gynecology services, and more.

For more information about the services we provide or to schedule an appointment, please call to speak with one of our medical staff at 703-942-5331.

Does My Child Need Stitches?

bike accidentYou hear a loud thud followed by screaming from the next room.  You frantically run in to find your ten-year-old sitting on the floor, holding her arm, while blood has seeped into her clothing.  You take a look at the cut and realize that this is something a bandage can’t fix.

Between the school yard, sports, and everyday play, children can end up with bruises, scrapes, and cuts.

While many can be treated at home, it’s important to know when a “minor cut” might need medical attention, or even a few stitches.  Many parents have difficulty accessing if their child’s “little boo-boo” needs extra care, especially if they are actively bleeding.

Here’s a guide to help you decide if stitches are needed, and guidelines for proper wound care for stitches.

What is the first thing I should do if my child gets hurt?

The first thing you should do when your child gets hurt is not panic.  When you handle the wound delicately and carefully, your child will remain calm, too.  

The next few steps include:

  • Accessing if the cut is minor or major
  • Finding an appropriate item such as a clean towel or cloth and gently pressing onto the cut
  • For larger bumps, bruises, or cuts, applying ice wrapped in a towel

How do I know if my child needs medical care?

Minor cuts don’t always require extra treatment, but if the wound is gaping and has been actively bleeding for more than a few minutes, it’s best to seek medical attention.  The main reason of getting stitches is to stop active bleeding, especially if the cut is large.

Some signs to know whether stitches are needed include:

  • If the cut is deep
  • If the cut is gaping open with visible dark red muscle, or yellowish fat
  • If the cut can use stitches for cosmetic reasons to improve appearance

How soon should I seek medical attention for stitches?

Most cuts should be closed within 24 hours following the accident.  It’s important not to let the cut dry out and to clean the wound regularly with sterile saline and gauze.

How do I take care of the wound after it’s closed?

A few ways to take care of a wound/stitches following the incident include:

  • Avoiding getting the wound wet in the bath or shower for at least 24 hours
  • Avoiding the buildup of a scab by dabbing diluted hydrogen peroxide to the wound to remove any loose scab and avoiding picking at the scab
  • Applying antibiotic ointment regularly
  • Keeping the wound covered for at least 48 hours

How do I know if the wound is getting infected?  

After the first few days following the injury, it’s normal for the skin around the cut to have a red appearance. However, if the redness continues to spread, you see discharge from the wound, or you develop a fever, you should seek medical care.

 

Treatment for Minor Injuries at Synergy Immediate Care

At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide a range of urgent care medical services on a walk-in basis, including either medical glue or stitches for many types of lacerations.  Our medical professionals will work with you to provide the best possible care for your child. For more information about the urgent care services we provide, please call us at 703-942-5331 to speak with one of our staff or schedule an appointment.

How Can You Tell If a Skin Rash Is Serious?

skin rashAn itchy red bump comes out of nowhere and now you’re wondering if this mystery bump will go away on its own, if you can treat it with some ointment from your local convenience store, or if this is something you need to take to a doctor…

The term “rash” refers to the inflammation or discoloration that changes your skin’s normal appearance.  Rashes can come in many forms, and oftentimes can present a challenge determining the difference of an uncomfortable skin condition or major concern.

A range of ailments can cause the skin to breakout in red blotches, blisters, or welts, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Poison ivy or oak
  • Fungal infections
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections

Most skin rashes are not life-threatening and can be treated with over-the-counter ointments.  The most important rule to keep in mind for seeking medical attention for skin rashes is if the rash is accompanied by other symptoms.

When you’re not feeling like your normal self and your rash has not subsided over a few days, you should visit your primary care provider or urgent care center or dermatologist to help you triage whether the rash needs a prescribed treatment.  Depending upon the appearance of the rash, it could be a warning sign of a serious medical problem, such as Lyme disease.

Some signs that your rash needs to be looked at by a physician include:

If you have a fever or pain accompanying the rash.  It could be a sign that you have an infection, or that you’re experiencing an allergic reaction.

If your rash is widespread.  Rashes that spread throughout your body can be a sign of an allergic reaction.

If your rash develops a circular shape.  Rashes from tick bites are known for having a bull’s eye appearance that indicates Lyme disease.

If your rash starts to blister.  For rashes that start to blister, it could be a sign that you came in contact with poison ivy, or something more serious.

If your rash turns color.  Rashes that appear with purple or blue spots can be signs of a bacterial infection.  Other signs of infection include yellow or green discharge at the rash site.

When a rash points to a potential medical concern, a visit to Synergy Immediate Care can provide you with the urgent care treatment you need to ensure that your rash is not life-threatening.  For more information about the services we provide, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals at 703-942-5331.

Treat Me Right (STD Awareness Month)

doctor consulting manWith shame and embarrassment being one of the main reasons many avoid getting tested, the number of STD cases are rising.  According to the CDC, every year there an estimated 20 million new STD infections in the United States alone.

Education is one of the primary ways of reducing risks of infections, so with April being STD Awareness Month, we’re here to provide you with a few tips on how to keep yourself healthy in and out of the bedroom.

The CDC’s theme for this year is Treat Me Right, encouraging patients to develop a trusting relationship with their provider as well as knowing they have access to the help and care they deserve.

When you have a visit with your provider, the conversation about your sexual health should be as transparent as possible.  A few questions you should expect during your visit include:

  • Have you been sexually active in the last year?
  • How many partners have you had?
  • What are you doing to protect yourself from STDs?
  • Do you have anal, oral, or vaginal sex?
  • Do you have sex with men, women, or both?
  • Have you or any of your partners been exposed to an STD?

How you answer some of these questions can determine if you are at risk for an STD.  

The good news is: STDS are preventable.  By having a transparent conversation between you, your partner, and your healthcare provider, there are a few ways you can reduce your risks for infections.

Practice Abstinence/Celibacy: The best way to avoid STDs is to not have sex in the first place.

Use Condoms: While birth control pills are effective at preventing pregnancies, they will not protect you against STDs.  Use of condoms lessens the risk of infection.

Practice Monogamy: Agree to have sex with one person who agrees to have sex with you and that the two of you will get tested before having sex.

Get Vaccinated: Some vaccinations like the HPV vaccine are effective at preventing HPV-related health conditions like genital warts and some cancers.

Get Tested: Some STDs don’t show symptoms, and can cause other chronic health conditions, so the only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested regularly.

Speaking with a medical professional for guidance on the proper steps is vital for your health.  At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide testing options and can provide you with a treatment plan that’s right for you.

For more information about our STD tests or lab services we offer, please call 703-942-5331 to set up an appointment with one of our medical professionals.

When should I have my first visit with a gynecologist?

ultrasoundFor many teen girls and women, the question of when you should start seeing a gynecologist raises uncertainty.

There comes a time in every young woman’s life when she must start visiting an OB/GYN.  The question is: When should I start?

Gynecology is healthcare for the female body, primarily focusing on sexual and reproductive organs.  

With information readily available about the best time to make your first appointment, it can be difficult to decide if your first visit should be after your first menstruation cycle or when you need your first Pap smear.  Here’s how you can decide when it’s best for you to make your first appointment.

When you should visit a gynecologist

Most women have their first visit with a gynecologist when they receive their first Pap smear at age 21.  But health issues can arise long before then.

Having regular visits with your primary care physician can help determine the most appropriate age to start seeing a gynecologist.  Depending upon health issues that arise after your first menstruation, and during development stages, your primary care physician might refer you to a gynecologist.  

A visit with a gynecologist is an opportunity for you to discuss your development and establish a relationship.  Friendship is a two-way street, and your friends can’t help you if they don’t know what’s up. Talking about what’s going on with your body is not always an easy conversation to tackle, but it’s your OB/GYN’s job to make you feel comfortable about the uncomfortable.

The visit should be a transparent conversation about overall health, habits, and sexual history.  Now is the time to go over concerns such as if your menstruation cycle is interfering with day-to-day activities, if you’re considering having sex with one or more partners, or if you should be screened for breast cancer.

You should visit a gynecologist at least once a year if:

  • You’re 18 or older
  • You’re sexually active
  • You have plans to become pregnant
  • You have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or your partner has an STD
  • You have a family history of breast cancer
  • You have a history of abnormal Pap test results

You should also have regular visits with a gynecologist for symptoms such as:

  • Pain or discomfort before and during menstruation
  • Abnormal bleeding or discharge
  • Breast soreness, lumps, or tenderness

Just as you would seek out a cardiologist for a heart condition, it is recommended to seek out a gynecologist if you’re experiencing recurring issues or if you have concerns about your development.

Gynecology at Synergy Immediate Care

Regardless of age, marital status, sexuality, or sexual activity, it’s important to listen to your body and visit a doctor for concerns.  Synergy Immediate Care’s gynecologist specializes in the evaluation, treatment, and management of women’s health conditions such as female infertility, perimenopause, PCOS, and more.  Some procedures and services we provide include cancer screenings, abnormal Pap smear evaluation, detailed gynecologic ultrasound, and more.

For more information about the services we provide, please call to speak with one of our staff or schedule an appointment at 703-942-5331.