How to Manage and Address Your Seasonal Allergies

Did you know that seasonal allergies such as hay fever impact millions of people in the United States every year?

woman with seasonal allergies requires treatment

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 19.9 million people were diagnosed with hay fever and seasonal allergies within the last 12 months. In addition, 5.7 million children reported having hay fever while another 8 million reported other types of respiratory allergies.

As spring rolls around the corner it is beneficial for patients to understand some of the best ways to prevent, manage, and address seasonal allergies. Especially during springtime, allergens like dust mites and pollen travel farther distances as they are carried by dry and windy air.

Thankfully, it is a relatively straightforward process to prevent and manage seasonal allergies. Here is a list of factors that patients can control when it comes to their allergies and other tips on when to start professional allergy treatment.

Manage household allergy triggers, especially during days with high pollen counts

Household allergy factors can significantly increase your risk of triggering a seasonal allergy. The good news is that these factors are controllable and easy to manage.

Common respiratory allergy triggers in households include dust mites, pollen that enters from the outside, and mold among many other types of riggers. A list of activities and prevention techniques to help control household allergy triggers is as follows:

  • Limiting outdoor activities and chores when days have higher-than-normal pollen counts. Ask a friend or family member to assist with outdoor chores during high-pollen days.
  • Keeping windows closed during windy days in springtime to help reduce pollen entry in your household.
  • Washing bedding in hot water at least once a week helps to reduce the spread of triggers. Additionally, using hypoallergenic linens also helps reduce the prevalence of allergy triggers.
  • Frequently cleaning and dusting household surfaces, including countertops, can reduce build up of dust and similar triggers.

Get treatment with over-the-counter drugs and visit your primary care doctor or an urgent care center for longer-term allergy treatment options

Even with a bonafide prevention plan, most patients are still likely to experience some seasonal allergy symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, nasal irritation, and coughing.

For mild symptoms, try using over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. Make sure to consult your primary care provider before using these medications even though most of these medications are generally safe for use. Additionally, always follow the directions of these medicines and don’t go above recommended dosages.

If your symptoms are hard to manage, or don’t seem to improve with over-the-counter medications, then it may help to get an allergy shot. An allergy shot helps provide long-term immunity and resistance for patients that are prone to respiratory allergies and similar ailments.

Allergy shots and similar treatment options are usually available in urgent care centers at a fair costs and shorter wait time than other medical facilities. For patients in the Tysons Corner, VA and surrounding areas, try visiting Synergy Immediate Care for your seasonal allergy needs!

OB/GYN

Women have unique health care needs at every stage of their lives and it is essential that they are always met with the correct professional & appropriate health care. Here at Synergy Immediate Care, we offer OB/GYN services that range from your routine services to immediate concerns you may have about your body. Note that by the age of 21 every woman should have an OB/GYN; it is recommended that you see one before your 21st birthday as well.

What is an OB/GYN?doctor happy

An obstetrician-gynecologist or OB-GYN is someone who has expertise in the field of women’s reproductive health and organs. This can range from STD screenings to pregnancy, childbirth, and other health concerns. It is essential for all women to make sure their reproductive organs and their bodies are in a safe and healthy condition at every stage of their lives.

What is Obstetrics?

Obstetrics has to do with the branch of medicine that is related to medical & surgical care before and after childbirth. The overall health of a woman that is pregnant and in labor can be an extremely delicate process. An OB/GYN will make sure to keep you in good health during this time.

What is Gynecology?

Gynecology is the branch of medicine that focuses on women’s bodies and their reproductive health. It includes the diagnosis, treatment, and care of women’s reproductive system. This will cover organs such as the

  • vagina
  • uterus
  • ovaries
  • fallopian tubes

This branch also deals with breast health care. Gynecology is responsible for the care of a woman from the beginning of puberty and throughout adulthood.

If you have not picked an OB/GYN or if you are in need of a new one, we hope you will give Synergy Immediate Care a try. We treat our patients with respect and confidentiality. To us, you’re not just a number or a visit, you’re a mother, a daughter, a friend. Contact us today at 703-942-5331!

2019 Goals

The new year has finally arrived, & now is the perfect chance to start making changes to your lifestyle. If you’ve made a mistake in past years of promising yourself something & you didn’t succeed, don’t get discouraged! Many people set their sights too high when making goals to improve their health for the new year, but there are plenty of ways you can make small lifestyle changes that have a significant impact on your health. Before you decide new year’s resolutions aren’t for you, check out how easy it is to follow these tips to improve your health.

Reduce Caffeine and Sugar

Many people rely on caffeine and sugar to get them through their day, but did you know they could actually be making you more tired? Sugar comes with a sudden high and then an extreme low, causing you to seek out even more sugar. By detoxing your body and ending that high low cycle, your energy levels will naturally even out and increase over time. Caffeine is another stimulant that comes with a great high at first, followed by a sudden drop in energy. Our systems are overstimulated by the world around us and adding another stimulant on top of that actually increases negative emotions including stress and anger. Begin by slowing decreasing caffeine and sugar rather than going cold turkey to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Cut Down On Smoking

Trying to quit smoking all at once is discouraging and nearly impossible for most people. Instead of throwing out your cigarettes at the new year, begin slowly reducing the number you smoke each day. Most smokers have a routine of when they burn throughout the day, so you should evaluate which cigarettes are the most important to you. Then, begin cutting out as many as you can. Smoke half of a cigarette when you do smoke and eventually, cut down to just one cigarette per day. Slowly decreasing your smoking throughout the year will set you up for success that you haven’t been able to find when you tried to go cold turkey. If you’re really struggling, look into local smoking classes and counseling services available to determine why you smoke as much as you do. Finding new mechanisms to cope with stress and anger will make quitting much more comfortable. Other tools such as gum and nicotine patches can be helpful in the beginning, but your ultimate goal should be no nicotine at all.

Failing

Finally, if you find that your efforts to make a “new you” are failing, take heart and don’t give up. The goal is not instantaneous perfection, but progress towards what you want to become. Long entrenched poor health habits don’t go away overnight for most people. It takes multiple efforts and attempts before many succeed. Cut yourself some slack and recognize that your path to a better and healthier you might take some twists and turns at first, but with hard work and the help of Synergy Immediate Care, your friendly neighborhood medical clinic, you’ll get there!

When to Choose Urgent Care Service over the Emergency Room

Injuries, illnesses, and medical emergencies usually pop up in life during the most unexpected moments. However, when you experience a painful injury or a debilitating illness, it is important to understand how to evaluate using either urgent care services or the emergency room (ER).

An urgent care service can provide several treatments for sudden injuries and illnesses that usually cost less, and are faster, than the emergency room. Many people sometimes forgo considering urgent care and develop a habit of using the ER for most medical situations.

Conversely, people may confuse the term “urgent care” with “emergency care” and try to visit an urgent care center when they require life-saving treatments only an emergency room can provide.

Deciding when to use the emergency room is relatively simple and requires a simple provide a convenient rule of thumb below to explain when you should use either urgent care services or the emergency room for unexpected medical events.

Use Urgent Care when your illness or injury is not life-threatening

Urgent care services are great at providing fast and near-immediate treatments for multiple minor injuries. Most centers offer a walk-in clinic where patients can receive treatment for shorter wait times, lower out-of-pocket costs, and faster follow-up care than emergency rooms.

The types of injuries that you should go to an urgent care center to treat include minor cuts and lacerations, bone breaks and sprains, bruises, seasonal allergies, skin irritations, and illnesses such as the flu. Urgent care covers the majority of minor services that occur throughout a person’s life. Urgent care centers also perform preventive care and treatment after experiencing illnesses and injuries. Patients can come back to receive follow-up treatment and evaluate the severity of a previous ailment. Find your nearest urgent care center and take advantage of the low cost and fast treatments offered via walk-in clinic.

Go to an Emergency Room if you are experiencing a critical life-threatening injury

Injuries and illnesses that put your life in immediate danger require an ER without any exception. ERs are equipped with capabilities such as life-saving surgery and intense trauma treatment to help save the lives of patients ASAP. Visit the emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:

  • Squeezing chest pain with shortness of breath
  • A gunshot wound or a laceration that won’t stop bleeding
  • Choking, asphyxiation, or severe difficulty breathing
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Bone breaks that puncture the skin
  • Poisoning or ingestion of a toxic chemical
  • Severe burns including 3rd and 4th-degree burns
  • Inability to move or sudden seizures

Keep these tips in mind to use both urgent care and ER services as efficiently and effectively as possible. Responsible healthcare utilization can save you time, put more money back in your wallet, and preserve your overall health. If you need urgent care services, don’t hesitate to call us at 703-942-5331 or just walk right in. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

New Year, New Health

The new year is the perfect time to create resolutions to improve your health, but the sad reality is that most people abandon their resolutions by the end of February. We want to help you improve your health in 2019, so we created a manageable list of health tips and resolutions you can take on this year! The key to a good resolution is making one you can actually stick to, and these should all fit the part.

Eat Fish Twice A Week

Many new year’s resolutions include foods that you can’t eat, but this is the exact opposite. Eating fish at least twice per week can have significant benefits on your heart and brain health. The most useful types of fish include tuna, salmon, and mackerel. If you aren’t a fan of fish, go online to find fun new recipes to begin incorporating them into your weekly lunch or dinner meals. Who knows, you might even discover new favorite food!

Up Your Water Intake

Water is essential to every aspect of a healthy life. This year, dedicate yourself to increase your water intake. Begin making small changes to set yourself up for success. Some of those changes could include drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and only ordering water at restaurants. If you struggle to drink water throughout the day, invest in a refillable water bottle that you love. Upping your water intake will promote weight loss and many other health benefits. You may even find yourself snacking less throughout the day when you’re properly hydrated! If the taste of water bores you, there are zero calorie drink flavoring options that you can add at a little cost.

Improve Your Sleep Schedule

We neglect our bodies in many ways, but an odd sleep schedule is one of the most damaging. Many people’s bodies need at least 8 hours of sleep per night to function properly. If 8 hours is too big of an adjustment from your current sleeping schedule, begin by making slow increases until you reach the 8-hour mark. It may take some time to get used to the increased sleep, but your body and mind will thank you. Sleep affects your heart, brain, memory, and many other aspects of your health. This is a resolution that will have significant benefits to your overall health, and all you have to do is sleep!

 

We here at Synergy Immediate Care want to wish you a happy and health New Year!

Stay safe decorating for the holidays

The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. One of the best parts of the holiday season is to decorate your home. However, you have to be careful when decorating! The holidays are one of the more dangerous time of the year due to weather conditions, the weight of certain decorations (trees, boxes, etc), & the hectic traffic in public areas. We have some tips for you that will help you be safe this holiday season!

Watch out for your lights

Hanging lights all over your house & shrubbery can prove to make your home glow with a festive tone. You will want to make sure that the lights that you are putting around your house & outside are made to be decoration lights. The box that lights come in are marked with their wattage & their primary use, so this would be a good thing to look out for the next time you go shopping. You should also consider using LED lights; these lights have a cooler glow & are way more durable outside! These lights will reduce the risk of indoor electrical fires & outdoor sparks flying because of broken lights from the weather. If you are content with the lights you already have, make sure to check them! Older lights can have damaged or missing bulbs in them that can be hard to spot.

Watch out for black ice

December temperatures can be brutal & at nightfall sometimes temperatures can drop below the freezing point. This opens up the potential for black ice to form. This can lead to car accidents & slipping on cement sidewalks. To avoid injury especially while decorating for the holidays. An excellent way to prevent black ice is to pay attention to the weather & salt down your driveway & in front of your house, so you are not surprised by black ice in the morning.

Lift heavy objects with caution

If you are lifting a tree or a box full of ornaments, please proceed with caution. Heavy objects that are bulky should always be lifted with someone else, so you are not trying to distribute all the weight on your own. If you lift using only your upper body, then you run the risk of injuring your back. When you lift heavy objects, you should always use your legs!

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you have injured yourself while decorating, please free to call us at 703-942-5331!

Holiday Hygiene Tips

The holidays are here & once again it is the most wonderful time of the year! Holidays are the time of the year when we go home & visit our families & loved ones. Travel days can lead to lots of stress, & fatigue on the body. The last thing anyone wants to be worried about is their hygiene while traveling within a large group of people such as a crowded bus, train or plane. Below are some tips to use when going home for the holidays to ensure you have a comfortable trip!

Keep your face clean

When you travel for a full day, it is easy to forget to clean your face as you would on an average day. However, travel dirties up the face quite a bit. Grease & dust can block your pores resulting in breakouts & irritation in the skin. Always remember to bring face wash; even if you are traveling on a plane, there are containers you can buy at your local convenience store that will hold the correct amount to pass security. If you are eating greasy food or fast food on your travels, you should wash your face after eating. Nobody wants to go home & take holiday pictures with blemishes in their face from travel.

Wash your hands

If you are taking a form of public transportation, then odds are you are touching objects that have been affected by hundreds of people in that same day. Our hands acquire thousands of germs a day & you never know what type of bacteria may be leaking on seats or handrails. It is essential to try to wash your hands as much as possible while traveling. If you do not have access to a bathroom or sink then invest in getting a travel hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer does a great job of killing germs & bacteria on the go & if used correctly can save you from sickness.

Deodorant

If you are traveling for a full day, then you have to be aware that you will be in the same clothes & on the move for an entire day. Not bringing deodorant can lead to you feeling unfresh & giving unwanted body odor. Having deodorant or perfume can take away a layer of stress that comes with traveling for the holidays.

We hope these tips will prove to be useful for all of you traveling this month! If you have any more questions or concerns, or if you would like to make an appointment with our multi-specialty practice, please feel free to contact us at 703-942-5331.

What You Should Ask Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea

Have you been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea?  

man with sleep apneaSleep apnea is a common, serious sleep disorder that causes your breathing to become shallow, or stop completely during sleep.  In some cases, the pause in breathing, known as apnea, can last more than 10 seconds, and can happen hundreds of times during your sleep, which can make it difficult to achieve a good night’s rest.  

Despite it being a common condition, sleep apnea often goes un-diagnosed because of symptoms including loud snoring, gasping for air, and interruptions in breathing can occur during sleep without you even realizing it.

We know you may have some questions about it, and we’re here to answer some common questions you may have about sleep apnea.

What are common symptoms?

Loud snoring may be the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea, but it’s not the only symptom.  Excessive fatigue throughout the day is another common symptom, as well as loud gasping noises.

Are there risk factors I should be aware of?

While sleep apnea may be triggered by medical conditions including heart disorders, and taking medications, sleep apnea can often affect people who are overweight.  According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, many individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight, and physicians believe the extra tissue in the mouth and throat area blocks airways during the sleep process.

Who can diagnose or recommend me?

During your yearly wellness exam, your primary care physician will usually ask questions about your lifestyle including diet, exercise, and sleep patterns.  If they suspect you have sleep apnea, you may be ordered tests to rule out other conditions and develop a treatment plan for you.

Do I need to undergo a sleep study?

If the doctor suspects sleep apnea, your next step may be to have a sleep study performed overnight where technicians will monitor your sleep behaviors and sleeping patterns.

What do my study results mean?

You may not understand the dangers of sleep apnea until your doctors reviews your results with you.  Knowing the severity of the condition may help you determine if you can manage your treatment at home, or if you need more aggressive treatment.

What are my treatment options?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is usually recommended as the first treatment option to moderate severe sleep apnea.  You can find a CPAP machine and mask with difference accessories like humidifiers that can make your experienced more tolerable.

Is sleep apnea life-threatening?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to further health complications including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and more.  


Treatment at Synergy Immediate Care

At our medical clinic, we provide testing for sleep apnea and treatment with CPAP machines.  For more information about treatment options, please call to book an appointment at 703-942-5331.  We look forward to getting your health in check!

 

Why Mental Health Is Important

therapy officeWe often times get so sucked up in our day-to-day lives that we forget to book an annual visit with our primary care physician.  We visit our doctors for routine screenings, referrals to other medical specialists, managing chronic health conditions, and others health-related reasons.  But while we do our best to take care of ourselves physically, there’s always one thing we put on the backburner: our mental health.

Some people are under the misapprehension that therapy is for those who suffer from mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of us grew up under the impression that internal traumas shouldn’t be discussed, and rather swept under the rug.  But this is perhaps one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Brushing off your emotions and not working through your psychological issues, especially traumas dealing with pain or abuse, can stimulate other problems.  

Just as you get regular checkups for your physical health, here are a few reasons why you should visit with a mental health professional.

Therapy’s effects persist over the long-haul

The same way visiting your primary care physician prevents long-term health effects and conditions, the effects of therapist are long-lasting, too.  This is not only because you’re working through your traumas, but you’re also given the tools to be equipped for dealing with future happenings.

You receive holistic treatment

Whether you need an annual physical, or if your cough has been lingering for more than a few days, you visit your doctor, right?  Your primary care doctor focuses on providing holistic health care, meaning he or she is trained on a little bit of everything to provide comprehensive care in one location.  The same holds true for visiting a mental health professional. Psychological trauma can trigger physical symptoms – and disorders and conditions such as depression and anxiety are known to cause physical effects such as stomach aches, headaches, and sleeping problems.  By visiting a mental health professional, a successful series of sessions can help these issues subside.

It helps you teach the next generation a better way

Advances in medicine have made it possible for generations to come to be able to avoid diseases that have once swept the nation, and will only be known in history books.  We also know more about how our bodies work, and how to promote longevity through practicing a healthy lifestyle. And when it comes to mental health, working through your traumas with a psychiatrist or a mental health therapist will help teach your kids a better way of dealing with their own issues.  By learning to be more expressive with your emotions, you’re also giving your children room for a healthy environment to express themselves whether their happy and excited, or if they’re feeling ignored and treated unfairly.

 

Communication is a two-way street, especially when it comes to your health.  Communicating your health wants and needs is important, so your doctor can address your health concerns appropriately.  The physicians at Synergy Immediate Care specialize in providing the care you need for a range of your health concerns, from primary care to mental health care.  For more information about the services we provide, or to book an appointment, please call us at 703-942-5331.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

women in pinkA well-woman visit to a primary care physician or a gynecologist can give you the opportunity to discuss the importance of and receive guidance on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to minimize health risks.

An annual visit to your PCP or ob-gyn should consist of regular screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunization based on your age and risk factors.  With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to visit your PCP or gynecologist for a well-woman visit, and start the conversation about breast health.

What is Breast Cancer Awareness?

Breast Cancer Awareness is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of screening and the early detection of cancer.  While breast cancer can’t be prevented, many women can survive breast cancer if detected and treated early on.

Here are some screening recommendations to better facilitate the conversation with your gynecologist:

  • Women should be offered screening mammography starting around age 40
  • Women at risk of breast cancer should have a mammogram at least annually, or every other year
  • Women who are at risk should continue regular screening to stay informed for overall health and longevity

Ways You Can Reduce Your Risks for Breast Cancer

According to the CDC, some ways you can reduce your risks for breast cancer include:

  • Adopting a more active lifestyle
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Taking hormone pills in moderation
  • Monitoring reproductive history
  • Limiting alcohol intake and quit smoking

Know Your Family History

Another important step of knowing your risks is to know your family history.  Women with a strong history of cancer should take specific steps to protect their health.  You may be at a high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother, grandmother, or sibling who developed breast or ovarian cancer.  Consulting with your physician or gynecologist who specialize in the evaluation and management of women’s bodies and reproductive health.

If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as lumps, or skin changes, consult with your doctor.  Also ask your doctor when’s the appropriate time to begin breast cancer screenings based on personal and family history.

For more information about breast cancer, or if you would like guidance from a provider, please call Synergy Immediate Care at 703-942-5331.