Category Archives: General Health

should you go to urgent care for strep throat

Should You Visit UrgentMED for Strep Throat?

We’ve all experienced a sore, scratchy throat, which is often a sign of something worse to come – a cold, the flu, or other viruses.  Allergies can also cause a sore throat.  But it can also be a sign of strep throat, a highly contagious and potentially dangerous, painful bacterial infection, affecting the throat and the tonsils. Should you visit UrgentMED for strep throat?  That’s an excellent question, which we’re about to explore. We’re all about good health and prevention here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network.

Strep Throat Is Very Contagious

Strep throat is a type of sore throat caused by group A Streptococcus and is common in children, but adults who are constantly around children can get it, too. You’re also more likely to get it as an adult if you have a weakened immune system. Warning: It often spreads in your household. Here is how it spreads. When an infected person sneezes, coughs or even breathes, tiny respiratory droplets containing the bacteria go into the air, and anyone nearby can inhale the drops, also becoming infected. You can also become infected by sharing a glass or food with the patient. It’s also passed through kissing.

can i go to urgent care for strep throat

Signs of Strep Throat

Often times the signs of strep throat are obvious, and other times, not so much. For example, you may not even experience a sore throat at all. But here are some obvious signs:

  • A severe and sudden sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Cold symptoms: coughing, sneezing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • White or yellow spots or coating on the throat or tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
  • Fever over 101* (38.3 *C)

We Can Quickly Diagnose Strep Throat

Timing is crucial when it comes to being diagnosed. For starters you want to feel better, and, while strep throat usually isn’t serious, left untreated, it causes serious complications, such as kidney issues and rheumatic fever, which can damage the joints and hearts. Plus- you don’t want to infect those around you. Now, about that test. A doctor cannot simply examine a patient ‘s throat or tonsils and determine they have strep throat.  Strep throat requires a medical diagnosis. But all it takes is a quick and simple test involving a throat culture, which we can perform at any UrgentMED location. You’ll have the results within 20 minutes.

Strep Throat Treatment

Doctors treat strep throat with antibiotics – penicillin or amoxicillin (Amoxil), which usually start taking effect within 24-hours of the first dose. You can be diagnosed and receive treatment right here at UrgentMED.

urgent care strep throat

Does strep throat go away on its own? Yes, it can go away on its own in 3 to 7 days. But here’s the problem. As we mentioned earlier, strep throat is very contagious, and you can remain contagious for 2 to 3 weeks, which increases your chances for more medical complications, as well as increases the chances of you infecting others. Why take the chance?

Take Strep Throat Precautions

If you suspect you have strep throat, here are some important precautions to take:

  • Do not share drinks or food with anyone
  • Avoid kissing
  • Wash hands constantly
  • Come in and get tested immediately

We’re a Full-Service Urgent Care Center

Should you visit UrgentMED for strep throat?  Yes, of course. Here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network, we can test for strep throat and other medical conditions, through our full lab. We offer all types of diagnostic testing.  We also offer non-surgical procedures, and provide fast and affordable emergency care. With 15 locations, we’re conveniently located near you. UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We look forward to helping you stay on a healthy track.

flu shot misconceptions

Three Flu Shot Misconceptions and Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Getting One

We’re just a few weeks away from the biggest travel and socializing holiday season of the year. And you know what that means – we’ll come in close contact with lots of people, many of whom have bad colds or even worse – the flu.  It’s not too late to protect yourself from this severe, highly infectious respiratory condition by getting a flu shot, and you can get one at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network.

The last flu season, which ran through to the end of March 2018, was brutal and one of the longest in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year on average, between 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. Of those, tens of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related illness. No age group is immune.

There are a number of flu shot myths out there. Here are three misconceptions that will help to put your mind at ease.

Flu Shot Misconception #1: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu

This has to be the biggest misconception in the group. Can a flu shot give you the flu? No – the flu shot does NOT give you the flu. The main reason being the flu vaccines are made from an inactivated vaccine.

flu shot season

Are there side effects from a flu vaccine? Yes, there can be. Some people report soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling at the site of your shot, headache, a low-grade fever, muscle aches, and nausea. But these side effects pale in comparison to the severe symptoms caused by the actual flu. If you’ve ever had the flu, you can relate.

If you do experience flu-like symptoms after you get a vaccine – this could mean that you may have already been exposed to influenza viruses (which cause the flu) before you were vaccinated.   Something else to keep in mind – it takes about two weeks after your vaccination, for the body to develop immune protection, and you may have been exposed during that period.

Flu Shot Misconception #2: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Work

Yet another big misconception or flu shot myth is that the flu shot does not work. It’s true that vaccine effectiveness varies. It depends on the flu season and personal considerations: your age and overall health. But recent studies show that getting a flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu by between 40 percent and 60 percent. According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu, each year. To use a cliché: better safe than sorry.

Flu Shot Misconception #3: I Don’t Need to Get a Flu Shot Every Year

flu shot flu season

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu shot. Yes, annual. Every year. Each flu season is different, and last year’s vaccines may not protect you against the next year’s strains. Plus, antibody levels decline over time, making it even more important for you to get a flu shot every year.

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

The CDC recommends we get vaccinated by the end of October of each year before flu season begins. And while we’re obviously past that point, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. Even if you get the vaccine later – into January and beyond – it’s still beneficial. But the earlier, the better.

Hopefully, our guide cleared up any myths you may have had about flu shots. Be sure and visit an UrgentMED to get a flu shot and other vaccinations, where you can also pick up prescription and non-prescription medications and medical supplies.

The affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network provide fast and affordable emergency care, and with 15 locations, we’re conveniently located near you. UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We look forward to helping you stay on a healthy track.

Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits

Five Reasons for Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits

A gathering of family and friends, sharing laughs and stories over an impressive food festival, Thanksgiving is undeniably one of the most popular holidays.  But it’s also one of the most popular days of the year, if not THE MOST popular day of the year for urgent care visits. Everything from food poisoning to burns to overindulging can bring the holiday to a close for many people.  We’re all about injury prevention here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network. We want you to have a drama-free holiday, which is why we’re sharing this guide with you – Five Reasons for Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits.

Knife Injury ThanksgivingKnife Injuries Are Common on Thanksgiving

When you’re carving a turkey or chopping veggies, anything can go wrong.  Knife injuries top the list. Be sure to focus on what you’re doing, and putting your bird on a non-skid cutting board also helps. If you are hurt while slicing your food, the walk-in clinics that make up the UrgentMED network can help.  We’ll treat you and have you back in time for dessert.

Alcohol Consumption

Is it really necessary to have both a glass of red and white wine? Thanksgiving presents the perfect backdrop for “social drinking” – even to a fault, with some people drinking too much, and ending up at urgent care. If you’re going to drink, be sure to also drink lots of water, which helps dilute the effect of alcohol. Do not drink and drive. Traffic fatalities involving alcohol increase tremendously during the holidays.

Don’t Overindulge on the Wrong Thanksgiving Foods

Do you get stuffed on Thanksgiving?  If so, you’re not alone. Many of us throw caution to the wind on Thanksgiving when it comes to our food choices, and the term “pigging-out” becomes the norm. But people with high blood pressure, diabetics, or even people with high cholesterol, for example, can easily over-indulge, triggering medical issues that can send them to urgent care.  People allergic to certain foods, can also “get caught up” in the day – many unknowingly devouring foods that trigger a major reaction. If you’re not sure what’s in a dish, ask the host about it. Be careful!

Don’t Get Burned

Not surprisingly burns are another culprit that keeps urgent care medical staffers busy on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Burn Injury According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, and recommend you take the following precautions:

    • Never leave the stove unattended and always keep an eye on your dishes
    • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and keep flammables away from hot ranges or ovens
    • Keep children and pets away from hot stove tops
    • Turn pan handles to the back and away from the front of the range
  • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen

Be careful when using your turkey fryer. Many people get burned from misusing them. And as a precaution, do not overfill the oil or leave your turkey fryer unattended, and use the fryer outside and away from your home.

You can treat minor burns at home with a burn cream and loose bandage. But if your burn bubbles or blisters, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.

Food Poisoning is a Huge Culprit

Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and more bacteria and viruses cause lots of illnessessometimes death.  Recently, Salmonella has been making the news cycles. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)  has linked a nationwide salmonella outbreak to raw turkey. Yes – turkey- the star of Thanksgiving, just a few weeks before it’s special day.

Salmonella Prevention

Here are some steps you can take to prevent Salmonella infection when handling your big bird, courtesy of the CPSC:

    • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, not on the counter
    • Handle raw turkey carefully; always wash your hands after handling raw turkey
  • Cook your turkey thoroughly – to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning

Keep an eye out for illness. People get sick from Salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms, get to an urgent care location near you, immediately.

UrgentMED is Here for You on Thanksgiving

We hope our guide helps you and your family stay safe over the holiday and beyond – with no medical emergencies.  But if you need to make a Thanksgiving Day urgent care visit, we’re nearby. With 15 locations, UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We provide a wide variety of medical services: diagnostic testing, surgical and non-surgical procedures, and specialized care. We can help.  Here’s to a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday!

Medical Care for a Headache

When to Seek Medical Care for a Headache

A headache can strike without warning – some much more serious than others.  And there are many types of headaches: migraines, tension, sinus headaches, along with various causes: panic attack, head trauma, and blood clot just for starters. Sometimes it’s obvious you need to seek medical help immediately, while other times, not so much.

Seeking Medical Care for a Headache

Most of us experience an occasional headache and we either rub our temples and meditate, relax, and/or grab an over-the-counter pain reliever. You might be surprised to learn the

number and types of headaches that can plague us. According to published reports, there are 150 types of headaches, and many of them can be very serious. Keep reading to learn when to seek medical care for a headache.

There Are Two Categories of Headaches. Know the Difference.

Headaches can be complicated and there are so many different causes. But they’re broken down into two categories: primary, not caused by another medical condition – and secondary, which involves an underlying cause. The most common types of primary headaches are:

  • Tension headache (the most common type of headache; dull, aching head pain)
  • Migraine (throbbing pain on one side of the head; usually comes with nausea, vomiting)
  • Cluster headache (they strike without warning in clusters with intense pain)

Primary headaches are brought on by a number of elements, most of which we probably don’t even make the connection: dehydration, hormones, your diet/food sensitivities/caffeine withdrawal, sleeping patterns, physical activity, screen brightness (computer monitor/TV screen), medication, stress, noise, fatigue, weather changes – the list can go on and on.

Severe Secondary Headaches Are a Force to Be Reckoned With

The presence of various medical conditions can cause secondary headaches, which can be very serious, even life-threatening.  The cause is often rooted in your medical history. Seek urgent care, immediately. A quick diagnosis is crucial. Some possible causes of secondary headaches include:

  • Severe hypertension, high blood pressure
  • Head Trauma, concussion, Intracranial hematoma
  • Brain tumor, brain aneurysm, a blood clot (venous thrombosis) within the brain
  • Stroke
  • Upper respiratory infections, Influenza, flu-like fevers, sinuses (sinusitis)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Meningitis, sinusitis
  • Panic attack, panic disorder
  • Dental infections
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Carbon monoxide poisoningWhen to Seek Medical Help for a Headache

Are You Experiencing the Worst Headache of Your Life? Get Medical Help

You must listen to your body. One of the warning signs you need to get medical help is, if all of a sudden, you’re experiencing a new type of headache or the worst headache of your life. A crippling headache.  It’s a pain you should not ignore. And that’s just one of the signs of a secondary headache, a very serious, severe headache. They come on quickly. Here are more warning signs or red flags:

  • Recurring headaches in children
  • Sudden onset of pain, a horrific headache that wakes you from your sleep
  • Headaches that start early in the morning
  • Headache that gets much worse, much more severe or continues
  • Headache that follows a head injury
  • Pain that gets worse when you cough or sneeze or other types of movements
  • Vomiting without nausea
  • Trouble speaking, personality & mental changes
  • Seizures

Again, if you experience any of the above, get medical help, immediately. Your life may depend on it.

Our Doors Are Always Open

We hope this guide helps you learn more about headaches and when to seek medical help.  Our doors are always open here at the affordable walk-in clinics that make up the UrgentMED network. We provide a wide variety of medical services: diagnostic testing, surgical and non-surgical procedures, and specialized care. With 15 locations, we’re the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We’re here for you when you need us.

Five Causes of Dizziness and When You Should Seek Help at Urgent Care

Five Causes of Dizziness and When You Should Seek Help at Urgent Care

It happens to all of us, every once-in-awhile. We get dizzy. Sometimes it lasts for just a few minutes, and sometimes much longer. But how serious are dizzy spells, and at what point should you get medical help?

We have those answers and more in the following discussion on the five causes of dizziness and when you should seek help at an Urgent Care center. And in the meantime, if you’re having dizzy spells, head to the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network. There’s one near you.

How Do You Know If You’re Experiencing a Dizzy Spell?

Dizzy spells are extremely common and can happen to anyone at any time. Here are some symptoms of dizziness:

  • A false sense of motion or spinning (vertigo)
  • Unsteadiness or a loss of balance
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • A feeling of floating, wooziness
    or heavy-headedness

There are many causes of dizziness. Often, something as simple as getting up too quickly from a chair or bed, for example, can cause you to become dizzy. But dizziness can lead to some very dangerous situations, such as causing you to faint or fall, or preventing you from being able to walk.Five Causes of Dizziness


When You Should Seek Help at Urgent Care

If you get dizzy often, you should see a doctor. Now – let’s look at the five causes of dizziness, in no particular order, and when you should seek help at an Urgent Care facility, such as the walk-in clinics that make up the UrgentMED network.

Cause of Dizziness #5: Certain Medicines

Some medications – for example, those used for blood pressure, pain, or antibiotics can cause dizziness. If it becomes too much for you to handle, talk to your doctor about switching medications.

Cause of Dizziness #4:  Heart Disease

You can also become dizzy if you’re suffering a heart attack or heart arrhythmia, in which your heart is beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. If you suspect a heart attack, get to a hospital, immediately.

When You Should Seek Help at Urgent Care for Dizziness


Cause of Dizziness #3: Metabolic Disorders (Hypoglycemia and Dehydration)

People with diabetes can suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), possibly causing them to faint. You can also experience dizziness if you become overheated or dehydrated after exercising or a work-related activity.

Cause of Dizziness #2: Blood Pressure

If your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to your brain, this can cause low blood pressure (hypotension), and if you stand up or sit-up quickly, you can begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Cause of Dizziness #1: Vertigo Caused by Inner Ear Problems

Let’s revisit a word we just mentioned earlier: vertigo. The best definition of vertigo is severe dizziness. Imagine all of a sudden losing your balance or believe that your surroundings are spinning or moving. That’s vertigo, which is associated with a disease affecting the inner ear.

Other Causes of Dizziness

Other causes of dizziness can include some neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis; anxiety disorders; motion sickness; low levels of iron (anemia) and more, but they don’t usually require immediate help, unless you faint or fall.

Come to UrgentMED When Feeling Dizzy

If you’re feeling dizzy, head to and UrgentMed clinic near you. With 15 locations, we’re the largest urgent care network in Southern California. And we’re fast. We’ll treat you during your lunch hour. Our patients rarely wait for more than five minutes before seeing a doctor or another medical staff member. On average, patients spend about 25 minutes here in total.

Whether or not you need help due to the five causes of dizziness when suffering from a non-life-threatening injury or sickness, head to one of the UrgentMED Network of walk-in clinics. Our facilities offer lab/bloodwork, x-rays, vaccinations/immunizations, breathing treatments, heart tests, and more. We accept most insurance plans, but we may also help you if you don’t have insurance. You don’t need an appointment, and parking is free.


How to tell between a cold and the flu

The Differences Between a Cold and the Flu

Not sure whether you have a cold or the flu? Distinguishing which illness you are experiencing can be very tricky with the naked eye alone. They share many similarities – the most significant being that they both target the same area of the body. Many people don’t know the differences between a cold and the flu.

Differences Between a Cold and the Flu

Both the “common cold” and the flu are infections of the upper respiratory tract and primarily affect the nose, ears, and throat – but that is where the similarities end.Difference between a cold and the flu

Despite affecting the same parts of the body, these two illnesses are caused by different types of viruses, show varying degrees of symptoms, and distinct recovery behavior. Learn more about these common diseases and how to determine whether you have a cold or flu.

Cold Symptoms vs. Flu Symptoms

Although both the cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses that share several symptoms, the severity of these ailments is often enough to distinguish which infection one has. The flu has a much more aggressive impact on the body than a cold and is more likely to lead to health complications such as pneumonia.


Bodily aches are quite common with influenza but rarely a reason for concern. These aches occur during any sort of infection where white blood cells are sent to combat the bodily invaders, which inherently leaves muscles stiff and prone to pains. Although aches can occur during a cold, they are far less severe than with the flu.


Fever is a common symptom of both bacterial and viral infections and indicates that the body is fighting the disease. Fevers are common occurrences with the flu but very rarely occur during bouts of a cold.

Colds that develop fevers often indicate that the cold has developed a complication or is another illness entirely. High temperatures of 104 degrees or higher are extremely dangerous, and a doctor near you should be sought out immediately.Do I have a cold or the flu

Sneezing, Stuffy Nose & Sore Throat

Sneezing, congestion and an inflamed larynx are iconic symptoms of a cold. These symptoms may occasionally occur during a case of the flu, but will not result in a runny nose as colds often do.

How Soon Do Symptoms Show?

One of the most notable differences between the cold and flu is the onset of symptoms. Cold symptoms can develop in as little as ten hours after contracting the virus, but those ailments appear gradually, while more manifestations of the illness may later follow.

Meanwhile, flu symptoms are full-blown and strike very suddenly. The influenza virus can take hold of the body in one or two days, causing a quick onslaught of severe symptoms such as fever, bodily aches, and fatigue.

Cold & Flu Prevention

Both the cold and the flu have peak seasons during the winter. Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for the common cold (The average adult is expected to contract two to three of these viral infections per year), and both viruses have no cure. Both diseases can be transmitted through the air and are highly contagious during the beginning stages of the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent illnesses like colds and the flu.

Take advantage of flu vaccinations. Protect yourself and your family during peak season and decrease your chances of getting infected. The clinics that are part of the UrgentMED Network offer local flu vaccinations in the Southern California area with no-appointment necessary. If you suspect that you already have a cold or flu, doctors are on hand to provide a diagnosis seven days a week. Find a walk-in clinic near you and start feeling better today!