What You Should Know About This Year’s Flu Season

coughingThis year’s flu season is well underway, and this one is a bad one.  

The average flu season can start as early as November and last up until May, with peaks between the months of January and February.  The overall impact of the flu season can vary season to season, often time resulting in hospitalizations, other illnesses and viruses, and can become fatal.

The CDC has reported this year’s flu season as “widespread,” affecting 49 states, with 1 in 13 hospital visits being flu-related.  

With the flu season having no boundaries this year, anyone is susceptible to catching the flu.  Here are some common, frequently asked questions you may have about the flu season.

What is making this flu season especially bad?

Each year’s vaccine is adjusted to try to match the strains at could be the most dominant.  The more closely the vaccine matches the year’s strain, the less severe the flu season will be.

This year’s flu season’s predominant strain is H3N2, which is the cause of the worst outbreaks of the two types of influenza, and is the result of more hospitalizations, illnesses, and deaths.

This does not mean you should skip out on your yearly vaccination, as the flu shot is your best defense against catching the flu.

Who is at risk for the flu?

Each year, the flu leads to thousands of deaths and hospitalizations.  While the flu can make anyone sick, there are certain individuals who are at higher risk of flu-related health complications, including pneumonia and bronchitis.  Those who are especially at risk include:

  • Young children, particularly those under 5
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults over 65
  • Those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart or lung disease, and endocrine disorders

What are symptoms of the flu?

What can be easily mistaken as a regular cold can definitely be the flu during this time of year.  

Besides symptoms of coughing and sneezing, some symptoms of the flu to look out for include:

  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • High Fever
  • Chills/Sweats
  • Head Congestion
  • Chest Discomfort

How can I prevent myself from catching the flu?

While receiving your annual flu shot increases your chances of avoiding the flu and lessening your symptoms, widespread flu activity can make anyone susceptible to catching the virus.

A few ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones against flu-like symptoms include:

  • Frequently washing your hands
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoiding contact with those who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick

How do I know whether I have the flu or just a really bad cold?

Cold and flu-like symptoms share similarities, but flu symptoms can come on suddenly whereas a regular cold builds up over the course of a few days.  

If you are confused whether you have a cold, the flu, or pneumonia, the best thing you can do us to seek evaluation by a physician.

At Synergy Immediate Care, we are well-equipped to diagnose and treat your flu-like symptoms.  Make an appointment at our medical center to get on your way to a speedy recovery!  

For more information about the services we provide, please call us at 703-942-5331.

What is Psoriasis?

psoriasisWinter air will usually make your skin feel drier than normal, and can be treated by switching up your skincare routine with a heavier, oil-based moisturizer.  

But when your skin is covered in red patches that leave you with an itchy or burning sensation, or if the patches cause bleeding, you might be suffering from psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells, causing the new cells to quickly build up on the surface of the skin.  

The new, extra skin can take the form of scales and red patches that can feel itchy, and at times painful.

Are there different kinds of psoriasis?

Some types of psoriasis go through cycles of flareups for weeks or months, and with proper treatment and evaluation, can subside over time.

There are five types of the psoriasis: plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis.

Plaque Psoriasis

The most common of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis shows up as dry, red lesions that flake up and shed.  These patches usually appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, or lower back.

Guttate Psoriasis

The second most common type, guttate psoriasis, usually affects individuals under 30 and is mostly triggered by strep throat.  This type can appear on arms, legs, and the scalp, and is a thinner layer of extra skin than plaque psoriasis.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis usually appears as white blisters, covering large areas of the skin.  This type can be accompanied by fever, chills, and severe itching.

Inverse Psoriasis

Normally caused by friction and sweating, inverse psoriasis can develop in areas such as the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and even the genitals and buttocks.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

The least common type, erythrodermic psoriasis can be extremely painful and potentially life-threatening.  Someone suffering from this type can develop peeling rashes across the surface of their entire body and is usually accompanied with unregulated body temperature.

What causes psoriasis?

Medical professionals have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of psoriasis, but have found triggers which include:

  • Injuries to the skin, such as a cut, scrape, insect bite, or sunburn
  • Bacterial infections such as strep throat
  • Skin rashes and allergic reactions

Where should I seek treatment?

If you suspect that you have psoriasis, you should seek medical attention at Synergy Immediate Care, particularly if your psoriasis:

  • Is bothersome and causes discomfort and pain
  • Makes you concerned about the appearance of your skin
  • Causes joint pains or severe swelling

Synergy Immediate Care’s dermatologist, Dr Kimberly Arrington, will review your medical history and perform an evaluation of the current state of your skin.   If you are at risk for psoriasis, or you have psoriasis, we can provide you with treatment to reduce the inflammation and clear the skin.  

If you are concerned that your skin shows signs of psoriasis, do not hesitate to contact us at 703-942-5331 to set up an appointment.  We look forward to getting your psoriasis under control, preventing future breakouts, and giving you great-looking skin!

How to Prevent Heart Disease

Heart HealthIt may not be on the top of your to-do list, but caring for your heart should be top priority when it comes to taking charge of your health.

You never know when a heart attack may come, or when your physician might diagnose you with diabetes, but there are preventative measures to reduce your risk for heart disease.  Here are three ways how you can reduce your risks.

Control your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.  When your blood pressure is high, the blood running through your arteries is flowing with too much force, and causes strain on your cardiovascular system.  When your body works to repair arterial wall injury, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can turn into blood clots, blockages, and create weakened arteries.

A few ways to manage your blood pressure include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Reducing sodium and sugar intake
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Limiting alcohol use and avoiding tobacco smoke

Keep your cholesterol levels under control

When you have too much “bad cholesterol” (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque around your arteries.  These blockages can lead to heart disease and stroke, but when you control your cholesterol, you are allowing your arteries to remain clear of blockages.

You can lower your cholesterol by changing your diet for:

  • Whole-grain and multi-grain products
  • Fatty fishes such as salmon
  • Antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables
  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as avocados, flax seeds, olive oil, and canola oil
  • Plant sterols such walnuts and almonds

Lose Weight

If you have too much fat around your midsection, you are at a much higher risk for heart health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  If you are overweight, you can reduce your risks for heart disease by losing weight.  

Some ways you can work toward losing weight include:

  • Including at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine
  • Opting for water instead of sugary drinks
  • Eating a high-protein diet along with fruits and vegetables
  • Cutting back on sugars and starches

Endocrinology at Synergy Immediate Care

At Synergy Endocrinology Center, our dual-board certified physician, Dr. Pallavi Heda, specializes in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism.  

We specialize in the evaluation, treatment, and management of common heart diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol Disorders
  • High Blood Pressure

If you would like more information about our endocrinology program, or other services we provide, please call us at 703-942-5331 to schedule an appointment.

How to Stop Itching Your Skin if You Have Eczema

eczema treatment in Tysons, VANothing is more frustrating than having an itch you can’t scratch, especially if you have eczema.

This skin condition is caused by an abnormal immune reaction that results in dry, cracked patches of skin that’s made worse by itching and not properly moisturizing.  

What makes managing eczema worse is that chronic scratching can make your skin susceptible to infections, allowing bacteria to invade the cracked skin.

Although it may not be possible to stop itching, here are a few strategies that may help you keep your hands off.

Go cold

No, we’re not talking about going cold turkey and stopping yourself from scratching.  Holding an ice pack or cool compress on the area can interrupt the body’s feeling of itchiness and break the desire to scratch.

Break your habit

This time we’re talking about going cold turkey.  Scratching can become a conditioned response to the itch, and you might not even be aware that you’re doing it.  Try to keep your hands busy with other activities to keep your hands off your skin.

Find out what irritates your skin

Certain fabrics, soaps or laundry detergents, or allergens like dust or pet dander can irritate your skin and make your eczema symptoms worse.  Avoid wearing notoriously itchy fabrics like wool, and for instances where you can’t avoid cuddle time with your furry friends, find ways to treat your skin.  

Practice self-care

Having a regular bathing and moisturizing routine can help you better manage living with eczema and keep your symptoms under control.  Find out soaps and creams than can relieve the itchy sensation and provide moisture back to your dry skin.

Treatment for Eczema at Synergy Immediate Care

At Synergy Immediate Care, we specialize in the evaluation, treatment, and management of eczema.  Some signs and symptoms of eczema include:

  • Rashes
  • Dryness
  • Flakiness
  • Bumps
  • Peeling
  • Redness

If you have been suffering from any of these symptoms and would like medical advice on how to treat eczema, please call us at 703-942-5331 to schedule an appointment with our dermatologist today.

How Often Should I Get a Physical?

You don’t smoke.  You drink occasionally.  You go to the gym at least three times a week.  You eat three well-balanced meals every day.  So, you’re “healthy,” right?

Every year growing up, your parents made sure to book an appointment with your pediatrician.  Now that you’re an adult and caught up in the humdrum of life, you forgo your yearly exam because you’re too busy to stay tuned in to your health, don’t engage in any activities that could put your health at risk.

Even though you may be physically active and live a seemingly healthy life, you could be living with an underlying medical condition that could cost you time and money if left unnoticed, all because you skipped your yearly physical.

Why should I get a physical?

A routine physical examination is a preventative measure to ensure that you stay in good health.

Physicals catch you up on necessary vaccinations, and can detect serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or even cancer.

How often should I get a physical?

You should have a regular, annual check-up with your primary care physician.  

It should go without saying that if you are managing a chronic health condition, even if it’s under control, you should visit your doctor as often as recommended or required.  But if past exams have indicated that you’re healthy, a yearly exam should suffice for updating immunizations and blood pressure checks.  

What will happen during my physical?

During a routine physical, your doctor will check your vitals including weight, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well as evaluate other body systems that could indicate health issues such as your heart, lungs, and abdomen.  

Your doctor will also order age-appropriate blood and other laboratory tests, as well as any required vaccines, to ensure that your health remains pristine.

After conducting regular health screenings, your doctor may refer you to a specialist if there is concern for any medical conditions that require further evaluation and care.

Where can I go for a physical?

At Synergy Immediate Care, we do more than just urgent care. Our primary care physicians administer physical examinations to monitor your health, providing services such as wellness exams, routine immunizations, and health screenings.

Start the year off right and get your physical administered at our center located in Tysons, VA.

Make an appointment by calling us at 703-942-5331!

Want to get a better night’s rest? Here’s how…

SleepingIt’s 1am and you’re lying in bed awake, with only a few more hours until your alarm goes off, and you have to prepare for the work day ahead of you.  For some reason you cannot easily fall asleep, and you turn to your social media feeds for a cure instead of forcing your eyes to close for a few more hours.

If you spend a great deal of time lying awake in bed at odd hours of the night, or if you feel drowsy throughout the day from a poor sleep, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder.

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with insomnia and sleep disorders include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • Waking up earlier than desired
  • Still feeling tired after a full night’s rest
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Poor concentration and focus throughout the day

Fall into any of these categories?  You’re not alone.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 40 million Americans suffer from insomnia.  

Want to know how to better manage your sleeping habits so you can get a full night’s rest?  Some best practices to have a better night’s rest include:

Improving sleep habits: Regularize your sleep pattern by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends

Avoid substances that interfere with sleep: Avoid excessive caffeine intake, alcohol, or exercise right before bedtime.

Promote a relaxing environment: The best way to get your body ready for sleep is to promote the environment that would invite sleep.  Turn your lights off, turn off your television, and if your phone has the option, turn it on night-time mode to turn off the phone’s blue light.   

Seek medical attention: Some cases of insomnia can be caused by psychiatric conditions such as depression, which can bring down your mood and cause hormonal shifts.  A visit with a psychiatrist can help you understand your symptoms and provide you with treatment, if necessary.

Treatment for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders at Synergy Immediate Care

At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide treatment for patients who suffer from sleep disorders.  A visit to our center can determine if your symptoms are a result of physical illness, mental / psychiatric ailments, or both.

For more information about our psychiatric program, or other services we provide, please call us at 703-942-5331 to set up an appointment with one of our medical professionals.

Managing OCD

PsychiatryWhile it can be completely normal to double, or maybe triple check to make sure you locked your car before you went grocery shopping, or turned off the stove before you left the house, suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder can become so consuming that it interferes with your daily life.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted, and repetitive thoughts.  

What can be considered OCD?

Most people who have OCD can fall into one of these common categories:

  • Washers: With thoughts and fears of contamination, these individuals usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
  • Checkers: With associated thoughts of harm or danger, these individuals will repeatedly check things, such as to see if they turned off the stove or locked a door.
  • Arrangers: These individuals are obsessed with order and symmetry, such as numbers, colors, or arrangement.
  • Hoarders: These individuals will hoard possessions that they no longer use or need in the fear that something bad will happen if they throw them away.

Can I treat OCD on my own?

While managing OCD can be a challenge to deal with daily, here are a few ways you can learn to cope with your thoughts and urges.

  • Don’t avoid your fears: With proper direction, learning to expose yourself to your triggers can potentially lessen your anxiety.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Stress does not necessarily cause OCD, but it can trigger the obsessive thoughts.  Practice relaxing techniques and rituals such as yoga, deep breathing, or mediation.
  • Refocusing your attention: When you’re experiencing thoughts or urges, learn to shift your focus elsewhere, whether it’s engaging in rigorous exercise, reading, listening to music, or calling a loved one.

How can OCD be treated?

So, think you are suffering from one of these categories?  Just because you may be suffering from obsessive behaviors does not necessarily mean you have OCD.  Symptoms of OCD can cause distress and interfere with your work, home and social life.  If it has gotten to that point, it’s best to speak with someone who has expertise in the field and can assist with treating and managing your symptoms.

If you or a loved one may be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, take advantage of our new psychiatry program at Synergy Immediate Care.  Our psychiatrist, Dr. Durrani, specializes in evaluating patients who are suffering from symptoms of OCD as well as other psychiatric ailments.

After your evaluation, we can provide you with the treatment you need to help you manage your daily life without your obsessive thoughts overwhelming you.

If you would like to set up an appointment to speak with our psychiatric specialist, please call us at 703-942-5331.

7 New Year’s Resolutions That Aren’t Losing Weight

sparklersThere’s something magical that happens when the clock strikes midnight with the arrival of a new year.  Many people make the conscious decision to improve themselves mentally and physically.

January might be a great time to have a fresh start, but New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep.  

Here are seven small goals to accomplish this year that will help improve your mental and physical states.

  1. Drink more water: This is another common New Year’s resolution, but it imperative to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, as many are unaware they are chronically dehydrated.
  2. Declutter: Ever heard the expression, “Your home is a reflection of your mind”?  Decluttering not only helps rid you of unnecessary items, but also helps you focus on the things you want to add to your life.
  3. Take the stairs: If your office has 35 floors, taking the stairs can be a bit daunting, but stairs are a great way to get your body moving, increases your heart rate, and increases your metabolic rate – no gym required.
  4. Take 15 minutes every day to do something for you: In the humdrum of life, we often get so busy catering to everyone else that we forget to care for ourselves.  Focus on engaging in more activities that not only make you feel good, but also relieves stress for at least 15 minutes a day.
  5. Get more sleep: Along with getting your 15 minutes of “me-time” each day, be sure you are getting the best self-care activity every day: enough sleep.  Lack of sleep is often the underlying cause of many health issues, including stress, anxiety, and low immunity.  Most people should aim for at least six to eight hours a day for a full night’s rest.
  6. Practice mindful eating: This includes not mindlessly eating a bag of chips in front of the TV nor eating at your desk.  Practicing mindful eating allows you learn to pay attention to your body’s appetite, so you only eat when you’re hungry. Then you can stop yourself when you’re full.
  7. Pay your doctor a visit: Your primary care physician is your go-to for any and all of your health concerns.  Be sure to schedule your yearly physical with your PCP to make sure your health is in top notch for the year. If you have diabetes, make sure you have routine care with an endocrinologist. For those of you with mental health conditions, a good psychiatrist is a must.

At Synergy Immediate Care, we offer a range of medical services to help you get your health in check for the year!  Some of the services we offer at our center include:

Primary Care – Annual Physicals, Immunizations, Weight Loss, Chronic condition monitoring

Endocrinology – Diabetes, Thyroid, and Hormonal Imbalance Maintenance

Psychiatry – Anxiety Disorders, Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) & Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Mood Disorders like depression and bipolar disorder

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

3 Beneficial Reasons to Visit a Psychiatrist

PsychiatryWhen you see someone using a brace for walking support or their arm is bandaged up in an arm sling, you can safely assume that the person is recovering from an injury.  However, mental or emotional illnesses aren’t as evident.  

Many people you walk past every day can look physically healthy, but are internally struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental or emotional disorders.  

Maybe you’re the one who might be suffering from a mental or emotional situation.

Mental health is equally as important as physical health, so having a sound relationship with a psychiatrist is just as wise as having a primary care physician.

Here are three benefits of visiting a psychiatrist who specializes in treating psychiatric disorders.

  1. Talking through your emotions: Having a caring, non-judgmental ear is valuable when it comes to suffering from a mental disorder.  A psychiatrist won’t just listen to your stream of consciousness, but can help you breakdown your thoughts and behaviors to find solutions to change your damaging habits into growth.
  2. A psychiatrist is medically trained: While you may have friends who are supportive and can provide a listening ear, they may not always be the best people to turn to for quality advice.  A psychiatrist is trained to understand thoughts and behaviors.  They are professionally and medically trained to understand the human psyche, and can provide you with a plan on how to better manage your mental disorder.
  3. They will follow through: Once you are diagnosed and suggested a form of treatment, you aren’t simply ushered out the door.  A psychiatrist will take all of your concerns seriously, and follow up on how you’re responding to your management plan and medication.


At Synergy Immediate Care, our psychiatric program is here to help you get your mental health in check!

Some of the symptoms we diagnose and treat at our center include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) & Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Insomnia & Sleep Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ADD)
  • Postpartum Depression (PPD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Substance Abuse
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

To make an appointment or if you would like more information about our psychiatry program, please call us at 703-942-5331.

Visit us today to get your health in check!


Pass the salt, please. It’s good for you.

The salt intake that is often deemed high may actually have benefits, scientists say.

“We humans eat more salt than is necessary. But we all do it. So the question is: why?” asks Paul Breslin, a professor of nutritional sciences who researches sodium appetite at New Jersey’s Rutgers University.

In the past, people thought that salt boosted health — so much so that the Latin word for “health” — “salus” — was derived from “sal” (salt). In medieval times, salt was prescribed to treat a multitude of conditions, including toothaches, stomachaches and “heaviness of mind.”

While governments have long pushed people to reduce their intakes of sodium chloride (table salt) to prevent high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease, there are good reasons why cutting down on salt is not an easy thing to do.

Scientists suggest that sodium intake may have physiological benefits that make salt particularly tempting — and ditching the salt shaker difficult. It comes down to evolution.

“In biology, if something is attractive and we invest in gaining it, it must be beneficial, adaptive in evolutionary terms,” says Micah Leshem, a professor of psychology at Haifa University in Israel, who spent decades researching salt’s unique appeal.

People tend to consume about the same amount of sodium no matter where they live, and this amount hasn’t changed much in decades. Those facts hint at the biological basis of our sodium appetite.

A 2014 analysis of data that spanned 50 years and dozens of countries (including the United States, France, China and several African nations, including Zimbabwe and South Africa) found that the quantity of sodium that most people consume (and then excrete) falls into a historically narrow range of 2.6 to 4.8 grams per day. (And then there are extremes: In 16th-century Sweden, for example, people ate 100 grams a day, mostly from fish that had been salted to preserve it.)

Read the rest of the article here.