Category Archives: General Health

fast before a blood test

Why Do Some People Need to Fast Before a Blood Test?

When scheduling a blood test, doctors often instruct patients to do a fast or refrain from eating for a certain number of hours, prior to undergoing the lab work. Have you ever wondered the reason behind that requirement?  Certain food and drinks impact our blood glucose or blood sugar levels, affecting the results of your fasting blood tests.  Not everyone has to fast, while some people have to fast for more hours than others. Why is that? Many factors determine doctors’ decisions.

Requirements on Fasting for Blood Work

What is fasting for bloodwork? It’s simple – you can’t eat or drink anything except for water, for a certain length of time, until you’ve gotten the test done.  The number of hours you will need to fast will depend on the particular blood test you’re getting done. But typically fasting times go from 9 to 12 hours. Say, for example, you need to do a 12 hour fast. If you eat your last morsels at 10 o’clock at night, you’ll do your test at 10:00 AM the following day. The physician ordering the blood tests will specify the time you should do it. Once your blood is drawn, you can eat immediately following the test. Not all blood tests require fasting. Here are the ones that typically do, along with the required length of fasting:

how long should i fast before a blood test

  • Fasting blood glucose – Measures the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood to test for diabetes or prediabetes. (Minimum of 8 hours)
  • Blood cholesterol tests/Lipid Profile – Used to check cholesterol levels and other levels of fat in the blood. (9 to 12 hours)
  • Basic or comprehensive metabolic panel –  This is often part of a routine physical exam which measures blood sugar, electrolyte, and fluid balance, and kidney function. (10 to 12 hours)
  • Iron Tests – Measures your iron levels to determine if they’re too high or too low. The latter could mean you have anemia.  (12 hours)
  • Renal function panel – The main test to check the health of your kidneys. (8 to 12 hours)
  • Vitamin B12 test – Tests your vitamin B12 levels.  (6-8 hours)
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT): GGT is an enzyme found in many organs in the body, but this test diagnoses alcohol-related liver disease.  (8 hours)

Tips for Preparing for Blood Tests

In addition to refraining from food and drinks, you should also refrain from smoking, chewing gum (even sugarless), and exercising.  These things can boost your digestion, which can affect your results. Ask your doctor about taking medications – prescribed or over-the-counter – prior to your test. None of us is perfect, and sometimes we slip up. If you’ve eaten or drank something besides water, be sure to tell the person who’s drawing your blood. This is important.

why do you have to fast before a blood testVisit Us for Your Blood Tests

Visit us – the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network – for blood tests.  We’re fast and convenient, and with 16 locations, we’re the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We accept most insurance plans, and if you don’t have insurance, we have affordable rates for uninsured patients. We look forward to helping you stay on a healthy track!

drug screening appointment

What to Do Before a Drug Screening Appointment

Drug testing and screening is a standard requirement for many individuals. Competitive athletes, government employees, and new job hires are frequently required to undergo this type of testing to ensure that they are eligible to participate in a wide variety of activities.

The UrgentMED Network recognizes the growing demand for fast drug testing in Southern California and has designed our medical facilities accordingly. Our in-house medical laboratory allows our medical professionals to perform drug testing within our facilities, minimizing waiting times for patients and providing expedited drug test results for companies and government bodies. Here’s what to do before a drug screening appointment.

What to do Before a Drug Screening Appointment

So, what should you do before you attend a drug screening appointment at the UrgentMED Network?

  • Make sure to have your government-issued ID with you, as it will be required for verification.
  • Abstain from any drugs or alcohol.
  • Bring any paperwork that your employer or agency requesting the drug test requires.
  • If you are required to fast before your drug screening, avoid all food and drink for the time-frame designated for your test.
  • Bring a copy of your medical insurance, if applicable.

drug screening appointment instructionsFor a full understanding of what you will need to do before a drug test or screening, contact a member of the UrgentMED Network today.

What to Expect During the Drug Screening Process?

UrgentMED drug screenings involve a two-step process. Both initial (immunoassay) and confirmatory (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) tests are the methods used to test for drugs. Combining both of these tests allows for accurate testing and a lower chance of false positives – a win for both employers and those being tested.

The immunoassay test is performed first and is used as a primary screening method. If this test is negative, no further testing is needed, and the results are reported to employers as negative. If, however, the sample is positive, an additional GC-MS test is performed on a separate portion of the biological sample, either blood, urine or saliva. This test allows for a much more specific analysis, meaning the testers will be able to identify the type and quantities of drug present in the person’s system.

Let UrgentMed Perform Your Drug Screenings

UrgentMED offers all of your urgent care needs at all of our full-service walk-in clinics. This includes medical testing and drug screenings for new employees and those who are required to undergo testing for activities and events.

At our 16 convenient urgent care facilities, licensed physicians are on hand seven days a week to perform medical examinations and diagnose ailments with no appointment required. The clinics of the UrgentMED Network offer the most convenient medical laboratory testing services in greater Los Angeles and Southern California areas. With free parking, no appointment required, and a team of highly-skilled doctors, we can provide you with convenient, fast, and reliable care. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us to find a clinic near you.

injuries that require physical therapy

The Most Common Injuries That Require Physical Rehabilitation

It happens often – someone is injured in an instant, due to some type of accident or, they’re in pain because a repetitive motion has reached its breaking point.  They’ve sprained their ankle or wrist, pulled a muscle, or injured their shoulder. These injuries may not be life-threatening, but they can register high on the pain scale and will likely send the injured person to urgent care.  Other injuries, not necessarily emergencies, still demand medical attention. Here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network, we are ready and able to help!

We Feature an On-Site X-ray Clinic

When you arrive, a member of our medical staff will examine you, and at that time will determine if you need X-rays. Fortunately, we can do x-rays right here at our on-site X-ray walk-in clinic. Our physician will read the results immediately and also send it out to a radiologist to determine the next course of action. Some injuries will require applying a splint for pain control, or a brace or cast to reduce movement of the injured areas. Others will require lots of ice and plenty of rest.

What is Physical Rehabilitation?

If your injury or medical condition is limiting your ability to move and function in your daily life, you may need to see a physical therapist. Physical rehabilitation, or simply rehab, involves physical therapy which helps relieve pain, promotes healing, helps restore function and movement, and provides strength, endurance, and balance. This is done via a number of modalities, including hot and cold packs, ultrasound, laser therapy, physical exercise, and more. Studies show that after an injury, the sooner you start physical therapy, the better the outcome. You need to address your injuries before they become a chronic problem.

There are many injuries of the body that require physical rehabilitation. Some of the most common ones include joint/muscle pain, back pain, sports injuries, headaches, and neck pain.

Joint/Muscle Pain

You can be hurting in many parts of your body, including the ankle or wrist (sprained ankle or sprained wrist), hips, legs; feet (broken toes), shoulders (shoulder pain, frozen shoulder), knee injury (ACL Tear), ribs, pulled muscles, and more.

Back Pain

About 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point. You may have also pulled a muscle in your back when reaching for something, picking up a heavy box, or even picking up a baby or someone who weighs even more.

Sports Injuries

There are a number of sports injuries that can occur, but the most common injuries are groin pulls, shin splints, hamstring strain, shoulder injuries, sprained ankles, knee injuries, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, and more.

Headaches and Neck Pain

Stress can be overwhelming and is a common source of tension headaches, which can be debilitating. Research shows that many tension headaches start in the neck. Physical rehab can help target the pain.

What to Expect When Seeing Our Physical Therapist

Here’s what you can expect when you come here for physical therapy. For starters, our physical therapist will take a complete look at your physical history, along with your new injury, and will also test your strength, movement, and range-of-motion. He or she will also talk to you about your lifestyle and the type of work you do. All of this will help determine a plan of attack to help you get moving again.  In addition to doing “the work” in the physical therapy office, you will be given some exercises to do at home, which is important for you to follow.

Visit Our Rehab Center Near You

With 16 UrgentMED locations, there’s a physical rehabilitation clinic near you. UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California and offers the best and most convenient urgent care services in the area. We provide fast and affordable emergency care. We look forward to helping you recover from your injuries.

march madness snacks

Healthy Snacks to Enjoy This March Madness

March Madness just started.  It is a great time to get together with friends to watch the games. Of course, with those fun gatherings come snacks, and often with the snacks come the extra cholesterol we don’t need, putting us at risk of heart-related problems. However, there is no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy some great snacks with the games, so long as we are smart about it.

With so many healthy choices in snacks today there really is no reason why we should choose otherwise.  You’re thinking, “Oh, they’re probably going to tell me to eat a salad.” But no, there is a world of awesome snacks out there that are perfectly heart healthy and come with other benefits too. Here are some March Madness snacking tips.

Healthy Snacking Choices for March Madness


It’s great with celery or slices of tomato, packed with protein and good for you.  You can add some garlic or pesto to change it up a bit or even some spices. Dip some baked quinoa chips in it and you have a winner. A bean dip or some home-made guacamole is also a great idea as the fats in avocado are good for you.


Need more great healthy snack ideas for the NCAA tournament? Nuts are always a great choice. Walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts are all good for your heart and tasty as well.

Heartier March Madness Snacks

Chicken Fingers

How about chicken fingers? When it comes to sports grill classics, you just have to be a little creative to enjoy some of your favorites. For example, use an air fryer instead of your typical deep fryer, and make sure you use lean chicken and go easy on the breading. This way you have an awesome snack fit for a sports bar without the trip to the cardiologist.

Salmon and Tuna

Salmon and tuna are also excellent choices. You can have some sashimi completely guilt-free! Just don’t overdo the soy sauce and you should be fine.

And here you thought we were going to suggest lettuce – but wait, there is more.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is actually heart healthy, so long as it is not overly sweet and has a cocoa value of about 70 percent or more. Think of all the things you can make with it, such as chocolate-covered strawberries. And while we are on the topic of strawberries, you can dip those in yogurt as well.

best snacks for march madnessFruits

This is an obvious choice, but since we just mentioned strawberries it should be stated that all berries are incredibly good for you. Packed with antioxidants, they should be part of your NCAA 2019 extravaganza. But not all fruit choices are going to be winners, so try to avoid the super sugary ones like mangoes, pineapples, and grapes.

UrgentMed Will Help Keep You on the Right Track

All of these healthy snack ideas should keep you away from urgent care, but if you do need to see a doctor at any point, UrgentMED is nearby with 16 locations in Southern California. Our services are cost-efficient and we accept most insurance plans. UrgentMED is open every day of the year with extended hours on weekdays. Visit us online to find the location nearest to you.

tick bite

Help! I Think a Tick Bit Me!

Blood-sucking ticks are nothing to take lightly. Their bites can spread diseases and cause allergic reactions. On the other hand, their bites can also be harmless. But why take chances? If a tick bites you, depending on the circumstances, you may need to get treated.  Left untreated, their bite can potentially lead to some serious medical conditions. It’s important to be aware of tick bite symptoms.

What is a Tick?

Ticks commonly hang out in shrubbery – grass, trees, even leaf piles. They are from a class of animals called arachnids, which include mites, spiders, and scorpions. Most have eight legs and typically attach themselves to you, burrowing their heads into your skin and feeding on you. When they’re done, they usually fall off. Some of them carry diseases, most commonly Lyme Disease, which is one of the fasted growing infectious diseases in the United States.

How To Spot a Tick

The smallest ticks are so tiny you may not even notice them, yet they’re the ones that do most of the biting. These immature ticks called nymphs are the size of a poppy seed. By comparison, adult ticks are the size of sesame seeds, and can also grow to the size of a pencil eraser. They can transmit Lyme disease, but fortunately, because of their size, you’re more likely to see them before they can infect you. Nymphs are more active during the spring and summer months, while adult ticks prefer cooler months. They can remain on your skin for up to 10 days.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like?

Ticks like moist areas of the body and usually strike in the armpits, back of the neck, groin, legs, and scalp. When a tick bites you, it’s likely you won’t even know it until later on when the symptoms start appearing. That’s because their bite is painless – they actually inject an anesthetic into the skin to avoid being detected. Immediately after contact, you’ll notice redness in the target area. Sometimes, you will also see a “red ring” surrounding the primary bite location. You may also actually see the tick, which usually burrows its head under the skin. If you spot a tick on your skin, you might try to remove the tick with tweezers.

Tick Bite Symptoms

As we mentioned earlier, a tick’s bite can be harmless, and you may not get any symptoms at all. If you’re allergic to ticks, you may experience symptoms, including pain or swelling at the bite site, or even a rash or blisters. However, the symptoms are a bit different if a tick has infected you with a tick-borne disease. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, you should get help right away.

  • Flu-like symptoms: headache nausea, fever, chills, weakness, joint pain/muscle pain
  • Full body rash
  • Red spot/red ring near the bite site
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Neck stiffness

tick bite treatmentTick Bite Treatments

If you were successful at removing the tick, cleanse the area with soap and water and apply alcohol to prevent further infection. But if the tick still remains burrowed in your skin, get help immediately from the closest urgent care where you could get treatment for tick bites with antibiotics. The longer the tick remains on you, the greater the risk of disease, so you need to act quickly.

See Us For Your Tick Bite and More

The affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network provide fast and affordable emergency care. We have primary care physicians on staff at all 15 of our convenient locations. We’re the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California, and we’re ready to help diagnose and treat your tick bite, so you can feel better, sooner.

sports physical

When Is the Best Time to Get a Sports Physical?

Children love sports, and that’s a good thing. But way too often, we hear about a student becoming ill, or worse, dying while participating in a sporting event. Many times, it’s later revealed that the student had a medical condition that no one knew about – not even the student himself. Had that information been known in advance, more than likely, the student would not have been playing that particular sport to begin with, and the outcome would have been different. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to get a sports physical before your child participates in a sporting event. In this instance, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.

What Does a Sports Physical Entail?

There are two components to a sports physical, also called a pre-participation exam: examining your medical history, and a comprehensive physical exam. It’s important to check if your child is predisposed to any specific health conditions that could possibly impact their health while playing sports. In addition to getting your child’s basics (height, weight, etc.), our sports physicals also include the following exams:

  • Physical Health Examination
  • Range of Motion Testing
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Pulse Check/Heart/Abdomen
  • Vision Screening
  • Joint, Neck, Back Exams

The particular sports or type of sport your child wants to play may require more in-depth testing, which we can discuss when you come in for the examination at our clinic.

sports physical examWhat Can a Sports Physical Reveal?

A sports physical can reveal a number of health issues or concerns that can either prevent someone from playing a particular sport or at the very least, limit their participation. Sports physicals have revealed conditions including hidden heart disorders or heart murmurs, or other health concerns. Health conditions such as allergies, high blood pressure, and asthma could limit your child’s participation.

Do Schools Require Sports Physicals?

A school physical is part of the enrollment requirements in general at most schools. And while many schools require students to undergo a sports physical, before they’re allowed to play a particular sport, some schools have no such requirement, which means it’s up to the parent to make sure it gets done. Safety comes first.

What’s the Best Time to Get a Sports Physical?

The best time to get a sports physical is before participating in a sports activity. You need to make sure that there are no underlying health issues that will impact your child’s health. It’s generally recommended to get a sports physical about six weeks before starting sports. Whether your child loves to play basketball, soccer, or even plans to try out for cheerleading, they need to get a sports physical. Why take chances when it comes to their health?

Visit Us for a Sports Physical

Here at UrgentMED, physical exams and sports physicals are one of our many areas of expertise. We have Primary Care Physicians or a PCP, on staff at all 15 of our convenient locations which are open every day. Our licensed, experienced, and compassionate doctors provide sports, school, and camp physicals. You do not need an appointment for a physical, which typically takes about 30 minutes.

We’re Here for You

The affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network provide fast and affordable emergency care. We’re the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We look forward to helping you and your young athlete, stay on a healthy track.