couple talking in bedroom

7 Myths About Sexual Health: Debunked!

While you know the best place to get information about your sexual health is from your doctor, you may find yourself searching the Internet for answers to very intimate questions.

A simple Google search about “sexual health” can leave you thinking you can get an STD from using a public bathroom to needing a Pap smear only if you’re sexually active.  We’ve debunked common myths you might find scouring the Internet and where the truth lies.

Myth: You can catch an STD from a toilet seat.

Sexually transmitted diseases or infections can’t live outside of the body for too long – especially not on a cold, hard surface like a toilet seat.  Also, STDs aren’t present in urine, so while you may catch germs from directly sitting on a public toilet set, your chances of catching an STD are slim to none.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.

While it may seem like the odds are in your favor, you shouldn’t risk having unprotected sex.  Even if you’re on birth control, there is still a chance you could get pregnant if you’re not practicing safe sex properly.  You’re just as likely to get pregnant your first time as you would any other time.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant during your period.

It’s unlikely, but there is a chance you can get pregnant during your cycle, especially if you’re not using a condom or birth control.  Some women have longer menstruation cycles that overlap with the beginning of ovulation, which increases their chances of getting pregnant because they’re fertile.

Myth: Women need a Pap smear when they turn 18.

An early Pap test may seem harmless, and could detect an underlying health condition, but isn’t necessary at age 18 even if sexually active.  Most OB/GYN’s now recommend having a Pap smear starting at age 21, whether you are sexually active or not, and conducting regular periodic testing.  

Myth: A Pap smear tests for STDS.

A Pap test is not a replacement for STD testing.  While some women think that going in for a Pap smear also includes STD testing, this is not always the case.  Pap smears do not test for the diseases that should be screened for regularly sexually active adults, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Myth: You can use a condom more than once.

Whether using condoms to prevent pregnancy or STDs, a condom should never be reused under any circumstances.  Reusing a condom will more than likely lead to mess and the semen getting out, which could result in a pregnancy.

Myth: You can’t get an STD from oral sex.

During oral sex, you can give your partner an infection and you can get theirs.  For example, if your partner has a cold sore (oral herpes) and performs oral sex on you, you could become infected with herpes, too.

Did you know?

Did you know that September is Sexual Health Awareness Month?  All month long, Synergy Immediate Care will be providing you with information about sexual health and services we provide at our medical center.

We provide discreet STD testing, Pap smears, infertility treatment, and more.  For more information about the services we provide, please call to book an appointment at 703-942-5331.

vaccines

The Importance of Vaccinations

You know the importance of eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, flossing your teeth and wearing a seatbelt, but do you know why it’s important to stay up to date with your vaccinations?

For more than 50 years, immunization has saved millions of lives and prevented countless illnesses, infections, and disabilities that have once swept the nation.  Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, and influenza still pose a threat if you forgo getting vaccinated.

Here are 5 important reasons why you should make sure you receive recommended vaccinations and how they keep you healthy.

Immunizations can save your life.

Because of advances in medicine, you’re protected against more diseases than ever before.  Some diseases that have once killed thousands of people have been eliminated completely, or are close to extinction, due to effective vaccines.  An example of one of those diseases is polio, which was once America’s most-feared disease, causing paralysis and even death, but no longer poses a threat thanks to vaccinations.

Vaccinations are safe and effective.

While vaccines may involve some pain and discomfort at the injection site, it is minimal in comparison to the pain and discomfort these vaccines prevent.  Side effects following vaccines are very rare, but the disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than suffering from the possible rare side effects.

Immunizations not only protects you, but it protects others you care about.

While many babies are too young to be protected against vaccination, others may not be able to get vaccinations due to weakened immune systems or suffer from severe allergies.  To keep those around you who are susceptible to illness and infection, it’s important that you and your family who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects you, but it also helps prevent the spread of these diseases.

Immunization protects future generations.

Vaccines have been known to reduce, and in some cases completely eliminate, many diseases that have once killed or disabled people a few generations ago.  Cases of diseases like smallpox and polio are no longer heard of due to vaccinations. If we continue vaccinating, future generations will no longer be affected by diseases that have once been fatal.

Immunization is required by many schools and colleges, as well as workplaces.

Education is one of the great equalizers and a means for people to get ahead in life. Many school systems and universities won’t allow you to enroll, however, unless you’ve had your full complement of childhood vaccinations. Universities require meningococcal vaccine before letting students live in dormitories. Even many jobs require their workers to get certain vaccines, such as hepatitis B, before getting hired.

 

Vaccinations at Synergy Immediate Care

Now that you understand the importance of getting vaccinated, now is the time to do so.  At Synergy Immediate Care, our medical practice provides a range of vaccines to help keep you and your family.  

Click here for a full list of vaccines we provide.

For more information about vaccinations, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 703-942-5331.

kid coloring

Are Back to School Vaccinations on Your Checklist?

If you walk into any store right now, the prevalence of the “Back to School” displays is an instant reminder that summer is coming to a close and it’s time to get your children ready to hit the books.  

Aside from picking up school supplies such as backpacks and notebooks, or getting ready to send your rising freshman off to campus, it’s also time for you to think about what vaccinations your child needs before the school year starts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an annual check-up for children and adolescents from ages 3-21, which can also be a practical time to verify your child is up to date on all recommended immunizations.

Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect their children from harmful diseases.  When you’re getting your kids ready for the upcoming school year, make sure to include vaccinations on your checklist!

Getting a shot administered can be a scary feeling for some children.  There are things that parents can do before, during, and after vaccine visits to make them less stressful.  Here’s how…

Before the Visit

Make sure you come prepared!  Take these steps before getting your child’s shots administered to help make the visit less nerve-racking:

  • Read up on required vaccinations for your child and write down any questions you may have
  • The CDC has provided a comprehensive immunization schedule list to see which shots are recommended for your child’s age
  • Learn more about the benefits, and risks, of the vaccines that your child will receive
  • Pack your child’s favorite toy or blanket that they use to keep them calm
  • Explain to your child that they will be receiving a shot, and while it may pinch or sting, it won’t last for long
  • Remind them that vaccines can help keep them healthy
  • Bring your child’s immunization record with you to the appointment

At the Doctor’s Office

For babies and younger children

  • Distract and comfort your child with their favorite toy or blanket
  • Talk in a soft voice and let them know that everything is okay
  • Hold your child in your lap

For older children and adolescents

  • Encourage them to take deep breaths to help them “blow out” the plain
  • Talk to them throughout the process to distract them
  • Support them if they cry

Before you leave the appointment, be sure to ask about using non-aspirin pain reliver, or about side effects from getting shots such as fainting, and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child.

After the Visit

Some reactions such as pain at the injection site, a rash, or a fever are normal and will soon go away.  You can use the following tips to help you identify and minimize side effects:

  • Review any information your doctor provided you about the shots
  • Soothe the injection site with a cool wet cloth to reduce any redness, soreness, or swelling
  • Reduce a fever by keeping them in a cool area, giving them a cool sponge bath, and if approved by a doctor, give them a non-aspirin pain reliver
  • Keep your child hydrated with lots of water

 

Vaccinations at Synergy Immediate Care

Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month?  This is the perfect time to make everyone aware that vaccinations are necessary to prevent life-altering diseases.  And now that you know how to prepare for your child’s vaccination visit, now is the time to set up an appointment. At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide a range of vaccinations for children from ages 7 and up.  If you would like to set up an appointment, please call us at 703-942-5331.

Should I Sign My Kid Up For Sports?

Participation in sports and physical activities develop important character traits and lifelong values in children that create a positive impact in their lives.  Here are a few reasons why you should sign your child up for sports today!

Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle

When your child is glued to the TV with the latest video game, or if their phone is constantly in their hands, daily physical activity can easily be forgotten.  Making exercise a part of your child’s daily routine teaches them the importance of living an active lifestyle, as well as increases their chances of becoming a healthy adult in the future.

Boosts Self-Esteem

Children gain confidence while out on the field.  Choosing a sport that your child can grow and improve in promotes self-esteem as well as gives them a sense of accomplishment for good performance.  With positive reinforcement from you as the parent, they will have a more positive view of themselves that will be illuminated during play.

Develops Time Management Skills

Adding sports or other extracurricular activities to your child’s schedule encourages them to develop time management skills, such as keeping up with school work, taking care of responsibilities, all while participating in the sport of their choice.  

Help your child formulate a plan that guides them to effectively handle their responsibilities while still leaving time for sports and other social activities.

Understands Team Spirit

Being involved in sports teaches your child the essence of teamwork and how their actions may affect other people.  

Oftentimes, for class projects and later on in the workplace, the emphasis of “team player” is always stressed for getting the job done while working with others.  If your child can’t learn to work alongside their teammates, how will they be able to work with classmates and coworkers?

Getting your child involved in sports allows them to develop crucial social skills that will help them later in life when tackling group projects, whether in class or in the workplace.

Equips Them on Dealing with Adversity

Every loss can be a win if your child takes the time to understand the mistakes they’ve made so they can become a better player.  If your child learns how to deal with adversity, they’ll be able to use their new perspective to minimize mistakes and recover from setbacks.

 

Sports Medicine at Synergy Immediate Care

Is your child ready to hit the court or field?  Being involved in sports is a great opportunity for your child to challenge their minds and their bodies, and some of those challenges may result in an injury.

Getting an annual sports physical is the best way to detect existing conditions and help prevent future problems from happening.  But if an injury occurs, Synergy Immediate Care is here to help.

At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide a range of sports medicine services, from sports physicals to treatment for sports injuries such as bruises, sprains, fractures, and more.  

If you would like to set up an appointment for a sports physical for the upcoming season, please call to book an appointment at 703-942-5331.  If you are seeking treatment for a sudden injury, call us at to secure your spot at our medical center. We look forward to getting your child the care he or she needs so they can get back on the field with ease!

study abroad

5 Tips to Prepare for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is an opportune moment to fully immerse yourself into a new culture, hone your language skills, find new interests, make new connections, and foster your intellectual growth.

Not that you need really need to fly off to another country to gain a world-class education and become a super-cultured international student, but there is more to gain when it comes to studying abroad.  The only loss is waiting until the last minute to prepare for the trip.

Besides getting your passport and student visa, and printing your itinerary, there are a few things you need to do before boarding your flight.  Here’s a guide on prepping for your study abroad program.

Research Your Destination

Once you have your country of choice set in stone, be sure to familiarize yourself with your study abroad country’s culture, government, geography and more.  Knowing what your country is all about helps you get the most out of your experience as well as avoid any culture offenses.

Also, take some time to learn more about the country’s language by either enrolling in a language class, using apps like Duolingo, or reaching out to peers who are fluent in the language.

Pack Smart

Along with researching your country’s culture, be sure to research the weather for the length of your stay.  Pack seasonally appropriate clothing as well as other necessities including hygiene products and toiletries, and extras like school supplies, laundry supplies, electronics, and prescription fills for the length of your stay.

Take Photocopies of Important Documents

Losing your passport or visa is one of the scariest things that can happen while you’re abroad, so be sure to pack copies of your passport, visa, prescriptions, and other important documents in the case you lose the real thing.

Get Your Finances in Order

Don’t be stuck overseas and stuck in a jam.  Notify your bank and credit card company that you plan to be out of the country, so you won’t run into any issues of not having access to your money.

Being in college also means that you must know how to budget, even while you’re abroad.  Some other expenses to keep in mind include:

  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Traveling (on weekends and breaks)
  • Entertainment
  • Souvenirs and gifts
  • Emergencies such as medical expenses

Visit a Travel Clinic Prior to Your Departure

Not only does studying abroad exposes you to a new culture, it can also expose to foreign bacteria, as well as animals and insects carrying life-threatening diseases.  

Most study abroad programs and medical centers like Synergy Immediate Care can advise you on the kinds of vaccinations and screenings that you may need during your studies abroad.  Some vaccinations require more than one dose, so plan to visit a travel clinic at least a few weeks before your departure if you can.

 

Travel Medicine in Tysons, VA

At Synergy Immediate Care, we provide travel medicine and vaccinations for those traveling for a study abroad program, work, or leisure.

Some of the services we provide for our travel medicine program includes:

  • Medicines for malaria, diarrhea, motion sickness, and altitude sickness
  • Required and recommended travel vaccines
  • Medical screenings

If you would like to book an appointment with us, please call us at 703-942-5331. We look forward to helping you with your health.

 

How To: Keep Your Kids Safe on the Playground

swingsThe playground is a great place to not only get your child outside to release some energy and enjoy the fresh air, but it’s also a place for your child to develop crucial physical, social, and problem-solving skills.

Your little ones can do all sorts of fun things at the playground, from swinging on the swings, to sliding down the slide, and even playing tag.  And while playgrounds serve as an excellent source of fun, they can also be the cause of injuries. Most injuries that kids experience on the playground are minor scrapes and bruises, but more severe injuries such as a fractured bone or a concussion can happen, too.

By following these safety tips, you can lower your child’s risk of experiencing an injury at the playground.

Dress for Play

Make sure your kids are dressed comfortably and appropriately for the playground.  Playgrounds can be dirty and muddy, so dress them in clothing that you don’t care about getting stained or torn. You should also avoid loose-fitting clothing that could get caught on rails or posts, and remove or set aside loose articles that could cause strangulation such as necklaces, scarves, or helmets.

Make Sure the Playground is Safe

Before you let your kids loose for play, check out the playground to make sure the equipment is secure and free of any noticeable dangers such as broken glass, signs of rust, or loose/missing screws or bolts.  You should also make sure the playground has a safety surface of shock-absorbing material such as sand, gravel, wood chips, or mulch and stay away from playgrounds that have concrete, asphalt, or grassy surfaces.

Choose Age-Appropriate Playground Equipment

Another common reason why little ones get injured at playgrounds is because they are using equipment beyond their size or developmental level.  Some playgrounds have separate play areas for specific age groups, so seek a playground that is designed for your child’s age.

Be Mindful of the Weather

While a nice summer day is ideal for a day at the playground, some of the equipment that is made of metal, aluminum, or plastic can become hot enough to burn your child’s skin.  Test the equipment before play by pressing your hand on the object; if it feels too hot for you, it will be too hot for your child.

Keep Your Eyes on Your Kids

The best way to keep your kids safe at the playground is by monitoring them, especially toddler or preschool-aged.  If they do happen to get injured, you will be right there to respond to the injury.

Pediatric Injury Treatment at Synergy Immediate Care

For moments when your little ones fall and get hurt, the physicians at Synergy Immediate Care are here to get them back up and ready to play!  

Some of the injuries we treat at our medical center include:

If your little one needs treatment, secure your spot at Synergy Immediate Care by calling us at 703-942-5331 to make an appointment now. Visit us today and we’ll have you in and out and back to the playground in no time!

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.