Category Archives: Infections

routine std testing

The Importance of Routine STD Testing

Did you know that humans can transmit over 25 different diseases through sex? With that many diseases, it’s crucial to ensure that you are routinely testing for STDs. After all, approximately 50% of sexually active people will contract an STD by the age of 25, and STDs among older adults are on the rise as well. If you are nervous or unsure of how to start, here’s an overview of what you need to know about STD testing.

What Types of STD Tests Are There?

Some STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, don’t have symptoms, but they can still impact health and fertility. Luckily, there are tests available for some of the most common STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, herpes, HIV, and syphilis. STDs often have symptoms that mirror other diseases, which makes it difficult to diagnose if you’re not looking for it specifically. 

The best way to find out which types of STD tests you might need is to discuss your symptoms and sexual history with your health care practitioner. Based on this information, they’ll be able to recommend the STD tests that make the most sense for you. Don’t worry, because it’s a judgment-free zone!

urgent care std testingHow Does STD Testing Work?

The type of diagnostic testing depends on the STD in question. For some STDs, such as gonorrhea, a urine sample is all that specialists need. Meanwhile, for other STDs, such as HIV and syphilis, they might require a blood sample. Certain STDs require a physical exam or a swabbing of your genitals for identification. A reputable healthcare facility or urgent care center will help you feel safe and comfortable during any testing. 

STD Tests Can Prevent Long-Term Health Issues

While STD testing will not prevent you from getting a disease, it will help you avoid complications associated with STDs, as well as keep you from spreading it to future sexual partners. Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences, and sometimes waiting too long to get tested means that the damage from the untreated infection may already be irreversible. Some health issues that could be faced by untreated STDs include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, liver disease or liver failure, and heart and blood vessel damage. For women who are pregnant, an untreated STD causes a higher risk for ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and premature delivery, along with the possibility of passing the STD to their baby. 

does urgent care give std testsDoes Urgent Care Give STD Tests?

Fortunately, with consistent STD testing, doctors can identify the STD and often treat it with minimal side effects. Keep in mind that STD testing is not a routine part of wellness checkups, so you must request it specifically. Also, most doctors recommend that you establish a routine with a yearly STD test for the most common diseases. For the most convenient way to get tested for an STD, visit an urgent care center. Urgent care STD testing is fast and convenient, and it preserves your privacy and anonymity throughout the entire process.

Get Your STD Test at UrgentMED

UrgentMED features numerous locations throughout Los Angeles, and we can test you for most common STDs in less than an hour. STD testing is the best way to safeguard your health and protect your sexual partners. If you need safe, fast, anonymous STD testing, visit your closest UrgentMED facility in Southern California today. Come visit one of our 18 convenient locations throughout Southern California to ensure you are free of STDs.

viral infection or bacterial infection

Viral Infection or Bacterial Infection: What’s the Difference?

Most people use the terms “virus” and “bacteria” interchangeably, but there’s really a vast difference between the two when speaking medically. Each infection, for example, requires a different course of treatment. To understand the difference between viruses and bacteria and the types of infection each brings, we should look at each one individually. 

Virus vs Bacteria

First, let’s look at viruses, what they are and how they operate. Here is something that will probably surprise you, viruses are not alive. They must enter a living cell to do anything; viruses cannot multiply unless they use a host cell. A virus can infect all types of life (animals, plants, bacteria and so on). A virus will commandeer a cell and turn it into a machine that manufactures whatever it needs to replicate itself.  Think of a virus as a complex set of codes – its only goal is to find a host cell and multiply.

Unlike viruses, bacteria are microorganisms. They are alive and can reproduce. Bacteria were most likely the first type of life on earth, and contrary to popular belief, they are not all bad. In fact, many bacteria have a symbiotic relationship with their hosts (they help you with digestion). Almost all life on earth depends on bacteria to live. 

Another surprising fact: If you were to separate all bacteria, animal and plant life and put each in a pile, the pile of bacteria would be much bigger than the other two combined.

viral infectionViral Infection

A viral infection can range from nuisance to lethal. For example, the common cold is caused by a virus, but viruses can cause more severe infections like Ebola or HIV. Most viral infections tend to last from a few days to a couple of weeks. There is a class of drugs called antiviral which is used to combat viral infections, but remember, a virus is not alive. If you try to use an antibiotic, it will not affect it. The word antibiotic explains this – “anti” means “against” and “biotic” means “life”. 

Bacterial Infection

Bacteria are adaptable. While the use of antibiotics is the right approach, its overuse can lead to bacteria adapting and being capable of resisting the antibiotic. There are different types of antibiotics that your doctor will prescribe depending on the bacterial infection. Keep in mind that antibiotics kill healthy bacteria as well and that using the wrong type or an unrecommended amount will harm your body.

viral infectionVisit your Doctor to Make Sure You Take the Right Course of Action

As you just learned, taking antibiotics to treat a virus not only will result in failure, but will also harm you by killing the good bacteria in your system. The best thing you can do is contact your medical professional and follow their advice. If you’re feeling under the weather, stop by an UrgentMED walk-in clinic. We will get you in, administer diagnostic testing, and help you fight any infection. Come see us at one of our 18 convenient locations throughout Southern California.

strep throat

Reasons You Don’t Want to Ignore a Strep Throat Bacterial Infection

While most sore throats can be attributed to various factors including seasonal change, airborne irritants, and the common cold, another illness can cause an extremely painful sore throat – strep throat.

While strep throat is only the cause of a small percentage of sore throats, it can cause many severe complications, including sinusitis, middle ear infection, kidney damage, pneumonia, or rheumatic fever. If you are dealing with a sore throat, it’s important to make the distinction between something that will probably be resolved on its own or strep throat. 

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsil caused by group A streptococcus. It thrives in the nose and throat, and you can get the virus from close contact with someone who has strep A bacteria or is a carrier of it. 

Strep throat is most common in children, but can affect people of all ages.

What Are the Strep Throat Symptoms?

The most common symptom of strep throat is a sore throat, but there are others as well. These include: 

  • Painful swallowing 
  • Red and swollen tonsils 
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck 
  • Fever 
  • Tiny red spots at the back and roof of the mouth 
  • Headaches 
  • Rash 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Body aches 

It is, however, possible to have many of these strep throat symptoms, but not have the strep throat bacterial infection. These symptoms can also be caused by a viral infection. To really determine if you have strep throat, you’ll need a specific test. Medical professionals can diagnose strep throat by doing a rapid antigen test on a swab sample from your throat or by doing a throat culture. 

Strep Throat Treatment

If you are diagnosed with strep throat, you will likely be prescribed an oral antibiotic. Antibiotics, if taken within 48 hours of the onset of illness, help to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms, as well as decrease the risk of complication or spreading the infection. In addition to the antibiotic, over-the-counter pain relievers might be recommended to reduce fever and alleviate throat pain. 

What is Strep ThroatOther tips for comfort and relief include: 

  • Getting plenty of rest 
  • Drinking lots of water 
  • Gargling with saltwater 
  • Using a humidifier 
  • Eating soothing foods (soups, broths, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and soft fruits)

Have a Sore Throat?

If you have a sore throat that you suspect might be caused by a strep throat bacterial infection, it is crucial to get diagnosed right away. This will not only help you avoid potential complications, but also help get relief from your symptoms sooner, preventing the spread of infection to others. At UrgentMED, we have 18 convenient locations across Southern California, providing affordable and professional services without long wait times. We offer diagnostic testing for strep throat, and can get you in, tested, treated, and back to life within 30 minutes. Find the location nearest you today.

urinary tract infection

How to Tell If Your UTI is Minor or Severe

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a relatively common ailment, with almost half of women worldwide saying they’ve had a UTI at some point. There are several signs that are easy to recognize. UTI symptoms include feeling a burning sensation every time you urinate, or when you go to the bathroom frequently, passing little urine. Feeling pressure or even pain in your lower abdomen or your back may also be a sign. Other symptoms include foul-smelling urine, or if it is cloudy or even bloody. While having a UTI you might feel tired and experience fever or chills.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of your urinary system – kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Women are at a greater risk of developing a UTI than men. So what are the causes of UTIs? In women, it may be caused by wiping from back to front after using the bathroom as this can introduce bacteria in the urethra. Sexual intercourse may also be responsible for getting a UTI, and often, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and UTIs share common symptoms. UTI’s can be transmitted from one person to another. Other causes of UTI can include:

  • Lack of proper hygiene 
  • Some birth control methods 
  • Having kidney stones 
  • Not drinking enough water 

Being a diabetic or being pregnant will make you more prone to these infections also.

utiWhen Should I Worry?

An unchecked UTI can turn into a very serious kidney infection. In can also become a blood infection if you do not treat it right away, or turn into a life-threatening problem. A UTI may happen anywhere along the urinary tract, though some parts are more problematic than others. For example, the urethra is easier to deal with than the opposite end – your kidneys.

The best time to worry and do something about it? The second you realize you have a UTI. If treated properly and early on, a UTI is barely a problem and is more of an annoyance, as it may itch or burn. Unchecked, however, it can lead to serious consequences.

What Should I Do?

The first thing you should do upon realizing you have a UTI is seeking out medical attention. Have your doctor test your urine for UTI and listen to the doctor’s recommendations and advice. The typical course of action will be to take antibiotics in order to fight the infection. Cranberry is often recommended as it seems to fight the bacteria that tends to cause UTIs but do not expect cranberry juice to be a cure. 

what is a utiIf you think you might be suffering from a UTI, contact UrgentMED to get evaluated. We pride ourselves on our convenience, efficiency, and cost. Our 18 walk-in urgent clinics are conveniently located throughout Southern California, providing fast, professional service without a long wait. Visit us at the location closest to you today.

staph infection

Could a Lump Really Be a Staph Infection?

In one word, yes. If you have a lump on the surface or even just below the surface of the skin, you may have a staph infection. These lumps tend to be full of pus and may resemble an abscess or a boil. The bacteria that causes this infection is called staphylococcus, and it tends to cause little to no problems. In fact, approximately 25 percent of people normally carry staph in their nose or mouth, without infection symptoms. When they do cause a problem, it tends to be a minor skin infection. There are cases, however, in which it turns into a staph infection, and those have the potential to turn quite deadly, as they may invade your lungs or heart, bones, joints, and blood. A staph infection can cause impetigo, cellulitis, food poisoning, and even toxic shock syndrome!

Signs of a Staph Infection

Staph infection generally begins as a small area of tenderness, redness, and swelling. A staph infection may cause low blood pressure, and may also cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which will lead to dehydration. The more common symptoms are pus-filled lumps, oozing blisters, and boils in general. While it is rare, a staph infection does have the potential to turn deadly once the bacteria reach deeper into the body and enter the bloodstream. If the infection is at this level, you should expect fevers, as well as joint and muscle pain.

signs of a staph infectionWhat are the Treatments for Staph?

Your healthcare provider can do a physical exam and evaluate your symptoms. They may also do a culture or other diagnostic tests. If you’re diagnosed with a staph infection, the first thing your doctor will want to do is drain the boils and remove as much of the infection as possible. Following that, most medical professionals prescribe antibiotics. However, some strains have become resistant to antibiotics, which have led to the use of stronger IV antibiotics such as vancomycin. If your infection involves a prosthetic, your doctor will make sure to remove it immediately. 

Is it Contagious?

Yes, a staph infection can be contagious. If you come directly in contact with an infected boil or wound, you will be at risk. The infection remains contagious as long as it is active. The good news is that casual contact, such as shaking hands, should not result in a transfer of the infection.

treatments for staphWhen Should You See Your Doctor?

If you develop an unusual lump, red area, irritated skin or pain, and sensitivity, you should consult your doctor. Blisters and boils oozing pus are definitely a sign you should consult your medical professional.

At UrgentMED, we have 18 clinics offering fast and affordable medical care. We are the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California, offering a range of services in one location, including physical examinations, laboratory testing, and an in-house pharmacy. If you are concerned about an unusual lump, don’t wait for it to turn into a staph infection. Stop by one of our walk-in clinics today.