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Getting a DOT Physical Benefits Patients Too and Here’s Why

Spring Hill walk in clinic

Workers whose jobs may impact the safety of the public aside from their own, such as commercial drivers are required to have a regular physical examination as part of their compliance with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This DOT Physical should be undertaken every 2 years at a licensed and accredited facility to obtain a certification that the driver is of good health before he can be permitted to work.

Professional driving entails incredible physical demands due to the long and inconsistent hours spent on the road. If a driver doesn’t obtain his medical clearance, he could lose his job, receive a fine and have his vehicle impounded. It’s best to get a DOT physical in Hernando County to avoid these circumstances.

Benefits of a DOT Physical

Aside from compliance with the law and gaining clearance to proceed with work, there are also other benefits to getting a physical every 2 years. The National Institutes of Health advises that, regardless of a person’s job, all adults must have regular physical examinations to monitor their weight, body mass index, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure levels. 

In Lifeguard Urgent Care, Spring Hill walk in clinic, when a doctor sees any health changes from previous healthcare records, he can address the health issues right away to prevent complications.

Undergoing screenings can help detect medical problems before the symptoms appear or the risks for the driver increases. Determining the risk factors, based on the driver’s family health history and test results, can make the driver more aware of his general condition. Thus, he can facilitate a few lifestyle changes to reduce these risk factors. 

Basics of a DOT Physical in Hernando County

The DOT Physical itself does not take more than 30 minutes. The doctor may begin by assessing the patient’s current physical and mental health condition by asking questions and doing a physical exam. 

The driver may also be needed to undergo the following tests:

  • Urinalysis – to detect any signs of kidney infection, diabetes, and drug or alcohol use.
  • Vision and hearing tests – to check for symptoms of macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma, as well as perforated eardrums and other hearing issues.
  • ECG – to assess the condition of the heart, especially if the patient has had a history of heart problems. 
  • Blood tests – to determine cholesterol levels and other health risks.

If the patient has certain medical conditions, then the process can be more extensive as he will need to bring documents and devices to support the assessment. These include: 

  • Contact lenses/eyeglasses or hearing aids for the vision and hearing tests
  • A dated letter from a specialist, if the driver has conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes or heart disease
  • A list of current medications from the specialist
  • Latest test results done as ascertained by the specialist, such as an echocardiogram, latest sleep tests data, blood sugar logs and blood tests results
  • An overview from a doctor, if the driver has recovered from a physical injury
  • A Skilled Performance Examination certification, for drivers with prosthetic devices 

It is assumed that when the driver has seen a specialist for his special medical conditions, he has been assessed thoroughly. In some cases, the doctor might also recommend immunization updates. 

Getting a DOT physical in Lifeguard Urgent Care Spring Hill walk in clinic

Remember, during a DOT physical in Hernando County, our doctors are focused on ensuring that the patients meet the minimum federal criteria. However, your employer could have more stringent requirements.

If you need to get your DOT physical hassle-free, come to Lifeguard Urgent Care. Located in Spring Hill, we accept walk-in patients without an appointment. Still have questions about the DOT physical, or want to be sure you’re prepared? Check out our FAQ or contact us at (352) 515-6000.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Common Causes of Auto Accidents You Need to be Aware Of

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Auto accidents have various forms and can happen anywhere, anytime. In the United States alone, 2.35 million suffer from a varying range of injuries and disabilities because of car accidents. Additionally, more than 37,000 Americans die every year due to a vehicular crash.

At Lifeguard Urgent Care Spring Hill walk-in clinic, we have experience dealing with patients who have sustained non life-threatening injuries following an auto accident. Aside from physical injuries, patients also suffer from the psychological trauma.

According to our auto injury doctor in Spring Hill, the most common causes of auto accidents are: speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, running red lights, and improper turning.


Speeding is the highest contributing factor in vehicular accidents. Most life-threatening crashes occur due to driving over the speed limit as the force of impact is greater during a high-speed crash. The faster the vehicle, the bigger its chances of getting involved in a car accident. Take note that you are sharing the road with other drivers. Moreover, the faster you drive, the longer the braking distance that you’d need to bring your vehicle to a complete stop.

Distracted driving

When you’re behind the wheel, it is important to keep your eyes on the road. In the past couple of years, distracted driving has increasingly become a bigger threat, especially for long distance journeys. Doing other things, such as answering a phone call, texting, eating, and even looking at the GPS can divide your attention and blunten your focus.

Drunk driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10,497 people died because of alcohol impaired driving in 2016. This contributes to 28% of traffic-related mortality in the United States.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it can reduce your reaction, decrease your concentration, and slow down your brain function. It can also affect your vision, balance, and perception of speed. People who are intoxicated can suddenly become fearless and engage in risky activities.

Running red lights

Although you are running late for an important meeting, beating the red light is never a good idea to save time. Red simply means stop. Unfortunately, some people speed up when the yellow light comes on, instead of slowing down. Aside from breaking the law, running a red light can lead to serious vehicular crashes.

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Improper turning

Improper turning may be caused by a lapse in judgement, or unfamiliarity to the place. However, it can cause serious accidents. Never forget to use your indicators before turning and changing lanes to warn other drivers and avoid confusion. Follow traffic signs and beware of one-way streets. Always observe the right-of-way when on the road.

Prevent an Auto Accident

Overall, the safety of everyone on the road is a shared responsibility. In order to decrease the number of fatal accidents, we need to build safer roads and infrastructures equipped with adequate lighting and clear traffic signs. Likewise, the general public also has the responsibility to obey traffic rules and regulations, and take precautionary measures when behind the wheel. Being irresponsible will not only endanger your life, but also the lives of others. Wearing appropriate protective equipment, such as a helmet or seatbelts, can save your life and reduce the severity of injury in case of an auto accident.

Learn more about Lifeguard Urgent Care – auto injury doctor, Spring Hill

Seeking medical treatment at Lifeguard Urgent Care Spring Hill walk-in clinic is recommended if the condition of the injured person is not life-threatening. At Lifeguard, your waiting time is minimized compared to ER rooms. Consultation and treatment are guaranteed to be affordable and efficient, as we are equipped with diagnostic facilities and friendly staff. For inquiries, call us at (352) 515-6000.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Common Causes of Abdominal Pain in Children

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More often than not, abdominal pain in children is usually benign. However, quick diagnosis and treatment are still necessary to minimize the discomfort and pain that could be too much for a child to tolerate. Don’t hesitate to bring your child to our Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic for a thorough medical assessment and treatment.

Although there are plenty of disorders that can cause children to become sick in the stomach, below are the most common causes of abdominal pain among kids.

1. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis in children, also known as stomach flu, may spring from a viral infection. It occurs when people share food, water, utensils, towels or even toys with someone who has the virus.

Norovirus and rotavirus are two of the most common gastroenteritis viruses that can be quite severe in younger children. While there are vaccines to prevent this infection, it’s still best to take precautions so that the child won’t be at risk of stomach flu.

Some of the steps to take to prevent gastroenteritis include:

  • Cooking food properly, especially meat and seafood.
  • Washing hands before eating, and after using the toilet.
  • Boosting the child’s immunities with healthy, vitamin-rich food.
  • Using a mask when the virus is in season.
  • Resisting to share food in groups, especially among school children.
  • Using separate utensils, especially if a family member has the virus.
  • Disinfecting the home.

The most common symptom of gastroenteritis is diarrhea and vomiting. Children with stomach flu also develop a low-grade fever and may be quite irritable because of abdominal pain, headaches, or muscle aches. In severe cases, gastroenteritis can lead to dehydration, hence it’s best to seek the doctor’s help at the first sign of the condition to prevent this complication.

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2. Appendicitis

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix has been inflamed due to a blockage caused by an infection, a hardened stool, or the inflammation of the lymph nodes around the intestines. In the United States, an estimated 70,000 children a year experience appendicitis, according to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and 20 to 30 percent of these cases require emergency surgery due to a ruptured appendix.

The abdominal pain may start around the belly button and extend to the lower right abdomen. The child may also vomit, develop a fever and refuse to eat.

Immediate medical attention is vital when a child complains of this type of abdominal pain because it only takes 48 hours before the appendix could burst. Diagnosing this condition requires an ultrasound, a CT scan, as well as urine and blood tests.

An appendix that hasn’t ruptured can be treated with antibiotics for the time being. However, the doctor might recommend a scheduled surgery.

3. Constipation

Constipation commonly happens in young children who are still toilet training, or going through diet changes. While this is a temporary condition, the discomfort of infrequent bowel movements, coupled with hard, or dry stool and some bleeding can become traumatic for a child.

Because of constipation, the child might fear the toilet or hold the urge to go because doing so is painful. Though this isn’t a great cause for concern as constipation is not serious, a visit to the doctor might be necessary if:

  • there’s blood in the stool
  • the abdomen is swelling
  • the child has a fever and obvious weight loss

Children who suffer from constipation should curb their high-fat food intake and increase fiber, fruits and vegetables in their diet. The kids must also learn to eat meals based on a regular schedule to facilitate proper bowel movement.

What to do?

The management for abdominal pain depends on the cause. If the abdominal pain is severe, has persisted for days, or is accompanied by fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, consult our highly trained physicians in Lifeguard Urgent Care Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic immediately.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Types and Causes of Allergies: Part 2

An allergic reaction happens when the body identifies a substance (known as an allergen) as harmful to the body, even though it isn’t. This overreaction of the immune system results in various signs and symptoms of allergy as the body tries to fight it off.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has identified seven main types of allergies. In Part 1 of this blog series, we talked about the first four types (drug, food, insect, and latex) together with their signs and symptoms.

In Part 2, we tackle the remaining three, which are all present in our environment.

5. Mold allergy

Molds are present in many areas of the house and even in the environment. You can get exposed almost anywhere. There are approximately 1000 mold species in the United States, which can be airborne and cause an allergic reaction to people with a mold allergy. Therefore, if you have an allergy that lasts for several seasons, you might be allergic to the spores of molds.

If you have a mold allergy, exposure may lead to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Runny and congested nose
  • Sneezing, wheezing
  • Eye irritation
  • Coughing and itchy throat

Doing a regular house clean-up, especially in the basement, bathroom, cabinets, and laundry area can guard you against mold. Lowering your indoor humidity to below 35% is the best way to prevent mold growth, as molds and fungi thrive in places with more than 50% humidity.

6. Pet allergy

Pet allergy refers to allergy to pets with fur. It usually affects people who have asthma and other allergies. Pet allergy is incredibly prevalent! In fact, 30% of Americans with allergies also have allergic reactions to the dander of cats and dogs.

Contrary to popular belief, your pet’s hair is not an allergen. It collects urine, saliva, dander, and even dust and pollens, which cause the allergic reaction. These allergens can become suspended in the air when the animal is petted.

If you have a pet allergy, you might experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Swelling, itching, and inflammation of the area around the eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Skin redness when the animal licks or scratches your skin
  • Breathing problems when the allergen gets into the lungs
  • Severe rash on the face, neck, and chest (in highly sensitive people)

7. Pollen allergy

Pollen is a common cause of seasonal allergies—usually every spring, summer, and fall. During these seasons, plants release pollens to facilitate the fertilization of other plants. These pollens travel by the wind and may cause signs and symptoms to people with pollen allergies, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Itchy eyes, nose, ears, and mouth
  • Red, watery, and swollen eyes

Pollens from grasses are the most common cause of pollen allergy. Other sources of pollen include ragweed, pigweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed, and lamb’s quarters. Pollens from trees like birch, oak, and cedar are also highly allergenic.

What to do

Aside from avoiding exposure to allergens, you may take antihistamine and decongestant medications, which help relieve signs and symptoms. If you haven’t been diagnosed with allergies, but you are suspecting that you have one, it is best to consult your Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic doctor for a more specific course of treatment.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Types and Causes of Allergies: Part 1

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), there are seven main types of allergies. Some of these allergies are seasonal while others are perennial. This blog series is divided into two parts. In Part 1, we discuss the first four types and causes of allergies:

  1. Drug allergy

In general, drug allergies are uncommon and only affect 10% of people worldwide. People who have an allergy to a particular drug may manifest signs and symptoms regardless if the medicine is taken orally or injected. However, not all reactions to drugs can be considered allergic.

Some physiologic reactions are already known side effects caused by specific medicinal properties of the drug. For this reason, the diagnosis of drug allergies can be tricky. In some cases, you need to undergo skin testing procedures to confirm the allergy.

Common symptoms of drug allergies include itching, breathing problems, skin rashes, and swelling. An anaphylactic reaction may also occur.

If you suspect you may be allergic to any drug you are currently taking, do not hesitate and contact our Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic today.

2. Food allergy

In the United States alone, 32 million people have food allergies. Currently, there are 170 food allergens reported. Among them are these eight major foods that cause allergic reactions: egg, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and crustacean shellfish.

Food allergy may affect several organs such as the skin, eyes, mouth, lungs, and heart. The signs and symptoms may vary, depending on the food ingested:

  • Itching, rashes, hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat—affecting the ability to talk
  • Difficulty swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent coughing
  • Stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Weak pulse, dizziness, pale or bluish skin
  • Anaphylactic reaction

3. Insect allergy

The incidence of insect allergies is lesser than food allergies, as the former only affects 5% of the population. Every year, anaphylactic reactions to insect stings account for 90-100 deaths in the United States. There are three major classifications of insects that cause allergies: stinging insects, biting insects, and household pests.

    • Stinging insects refers to bees, wasps, fire ants, yellow-jackets, and hornets. Insect stings inject a harmful substance called venom into the skin. Many people can recover on their own after being stung, although the recovery period may last several hours or days. However, others might develop a severe anaphylactic reaction to the venom that requires immediate emergency care.


  • Biting insects are bedbugs, fleas, flies, kissing bugs, and mosquitoes. Unlike stinging insects, biting insects rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. A bitten person usually suffers redness, pain, itching, and swelling around the bitten area.
  • Household pests like cockroaches and dust mites may also trigger an allergic reaction. These two insects are the most common cause of perennial asthma and allergies.


4. Latex allergy

Only 1% of Americans have latex allergies. Latex refers to rubber products that contain latex as a significant component. Latex is the protein found in the sap of the Brazilian rubber tree. Rubber bands, bandages, gloves, balloons, condoms, and rubber balls are products known to contain latex.

Products made of synthetic latex, such as latex paint, are not from a Brazilian rubber tree. Therefore, they do not cause a latex allergy.

Some people with latex allergy develop an allergic reaction upon skin contact with latex-containing products, while others are triggered by breathing fibers of latex in the air.

Signs and symptoms of latex allergy include itching, redness, and swelling of the body part that came in contact with a latex-containing product. More specifically:

  • Itching and swelling of the lips after blowing up a balloon
  • Itching, redness, and swelling of the skin after contact with a bandage
  • Itching, swelling, and redness of the skin after contact with latex gloves
  • Itching and swelling after using a condom

People with a severe reaction to latex may develop life-threatening signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. Experiencing any of the following warrants an emergency medical treatment:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Severe swelling
  • Hives
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing

The remaining three types and causes of allergy are more common and widespread, as they are all around uslike in the hair of your fur babies, for example. To learn more, click here.

What to do? Visit a Walk-In Clinic in Spring Hill

If you are suffering from allergy-like symptoms, but aren’t sure of what’s causing them, visit your Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic doctor for an accurate assessment, treatment, and diagnosis. Our doors are open to everyone, no appointment needed. For inquiries and assistance, give us a call at (352) 515-6000.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Can Allergies Be Fatal?

The word “allergy” gets thrown around a lot, which isn’t surprising at all considering the high percentage of people who suffer from allergies every year.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), over 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergic diseases yearly. If you suffer from any form of allergy, you can visit Lifeguard Urgent Care Center’s Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic for a quick medical assessment, preventive medicine, and treatment.

Why do allergies occur?

The body’s immune system is programmed to protect the body against foreign invaders that have the potential to cause harm. To do this, the immune system creates antibodies that fight off specific germs.

In the case of people with allergies, the immune system overreacts to a foreign substance (known as an allergen), branding it as harmful when it isn’t. An allergen is a substance that is safe and harmless, but triggers an allergic reaction to people sensitive to it.

Common examples of allergens include dust, pollen, food (seafood, dairy products, crustaceans, etc.), mold, animal dander, insect stings, latex, and certain drugs (penicillin, aspirin, and ibuprofen are among the most common).

Who is at risk?

You have higher chances of having an allergy if you:

  • Have a family history of allergies
  • Have asthma
  • Are a child

Complications with allergies

Having an allergy may result in the following complications:

    • Asthma. People with allergies have higher chances of having asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that involves the airways. Allergic asthma will cause the airway to swell, narrow, and produce mucus. This will make it hard for air to pass through the airway, leading to difficulty with breathing, alongside wheezing, and coughing.
    • Sinusitis is the swelling and inflammation of the tissues that line the sinuses.
    • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening form of an allergic reaction. Typically, people with allergies develop localized signs and symptoms, which can be bothersome, but are generally non-fatal. If the signs and symptoms affect more than one organ system, the condition is known as anaphylaxis.

The danger of anaphylaxis

If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to an anaphylactic shock. This is a fatal condition characterized by nausea and vomiting, rapid and weak pulse, rashes, narrowed airways, and a sudden drop in blood pressure. This is an emergency situation that needs immediate medical treatment.

Some people have a higher risk of developing anaphylactic reactions than others. If you have asthma, allergies, or a history of anaphylaxis in the family, you are at a higher risk. Likewise, if you have experienced an anaphylactic reaction in the past, your chance of experiencing another one is increased.

It is best to seek immediate help from a qualified medical professional at Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic for an accurate diagnosis and intervention. The first course of treatment, especially for someone suffering from an anaphylactic shock, is the injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) to reduce the body’s allergic response immediately.

Living with allergies

In general, the best way to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid contact with allergens. However, some allergens, such as animal dander and pollens, cannot be entirely avoided. In these cases, you might have to resort to medications.

Addressing your allergy symptoms and finding relief can be achieved through antihistamines and decongestants. These are the most common drugs that can relieve most symptoms of an allergic reaction such as itching, runny nose, and sneezing.

Before taking any medication, consult your Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic doctor to determine which medicine suits your condition best. Taking the proper medication with the right dosage and frequency will help relieve your symptoms, while minimizing side effects.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


My stomach hurts – what could it be?

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First, you hear the rumble, then you feel the pain – or is it the other way around? All you know is that you’re doubled over, grasping your stomach and imagining the end of the world is coming. What could it be? Why does your stomach hurt? Well, the truth is there are lots of different reasons. Here are a few of the most common acute causes of stomach pain.


Is the pain sharp and located in the lower right side of your abdomen? It is possible that you have appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix. According to the National Institutes of Health, appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain resulting in surgery. It is most common between the ages of 10 and 30, and more common in males than females. If you notice this pain or you suspect you might have appendicitis, come to Spring Hill walk-in clinic immediately. Untreated appendicitis can result in your appendix bursting, which is extremely serious.

Viral Gastroenteritis

What we more commonly refer to as the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis is definitely no treat. With symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and body aches, you not only need to be near a bathroom, but near a bed to rest. Viral gastroenteritis is caused by a number of viruses, and it spreads most quickly in group situations. You can prevent it by washing your hands frequently and properly, ensuring you’re using clean water to cook and avoiding undercooked foods. Most of the time, you need to let this virus run its course, but if you have had diarrhea for three days or more, there is blood in your diarrhea or you are experiencing dehydration, it’s best to come to Spring Hill walk in clinic to restore your fluid balance and get back on the road to recovery.

Food poisoning

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you have viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning because the symptoms are quite similar: nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, among them. However, the treatment plan is roughly the same: Tough it out unless you’ve had 3 or more days of diarrhea, a high fever, symptoms of dehydration or blood in your urine. If you have any of these symptoms, visit our Spring Hill walk in clinic immediately for treatment.

Indigestion and acid reflux

Although acid reflux can also be a chronic condition, it often appears after eating certain foods or after eating large meals. This is also true of indigestion; however, the causes are different. For acid reflux, your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) begins to function improperly or doesn’t close tight enough. This allows digestive stomach acid to escape from the stomach up to your esophagus, which gives the burning sensation of heartburn. Indigestion can have many underlying causes, although it is often associated with ulcers and gastritis.

In both cases, over-the-counter treatments are acceptable as a first line of defense; however, if you use antacids for more than 2 weeks (in the case of acid reflux) or you have bloody vomit or trouble swallowing (in the case of indigestion), it is necessary to seek help immediately from your Spring Hill walk-in clinic.


Lifeguard Urgent Care – Spring Hill Urgent Care

If you have unexplained stomach pain which doesn’t seem to be going away after a few days, or your symptoms are severe, Lifeguard Urgent Care is here to help. We are open 7 days a week so that we are there when you need us and for a more affordable visit than the ER.


Antibiotics – when to take them and when to avoid them

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You wake up and you know it instantly – a tickle in your throat, a surprisingly difficult time breathing, maybe a headache – you’re sick. You weigh the options of going to work or calling in sick, try to decide whether to see a doctor. You give it a day, do your normal thing, and you just feel worse. After calling your boss to let her know you won’t be in tomorrow, you head to your Spring Hill walk-in clinic to get some antibio — wait, what? Antibiotics? But your symptoms sound like a bad cold! Should you really be getting antibiotics?


Maybe not. The doctors at our walk-in clinic in Spring Hill say that there are more and more people asking for antibiotics to treat head colds and other viral infections. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Here’s all you need to know about antibiotics.


What antibiotics are

Antibiotics are a class of drugs that act against bacteria and are used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections – think pneumonia (sometimes), strep throat, and a number of sexually transmitted infections. Antibiotics either inhibit the growth of these “bad” bacteria or kill them outright, which enables you to feel better.


What antibiotics aren’t

Antibiotics are not an effective class of drugs against viral infections or fungal infections. That means if you have the flu, Lyme disease, or hepatitis, antibiotics are not going to help you feel better. Viral infections are best avoided by getting vaccinated, which we offer as part of our services – check out flu shot Spring Hill, but serious viruses, like Hepatitis B and HIV can be treated with antiviral medications.


Fungal infections like yeast infections or athlete’s foot also cannot be treated by antibiotics; for these you need antifungal medications, which inhibit the growth of the fungus and restore balance.


Antibiotic resistance

The biggest concern about the overuse or misuse of antibiotics – i.e. when they are prescribed to treat viral or fungal infections or when they aren’t used as prescribed – is that they become less effective against the illnesses they’re meant to treat. When antibiotics are used improperly – and this also includes not taking the proper dosage or not finishing a course prescribed by your doctor, the bacteria which they fight against adapt and become stronger. Then, the antibiotic doesn’t work anymore.


A famous example is strep throat. While this illness is awful in its basic form, it has evolved to an even more dangerous version called MRSA – or “methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.” MRSA doesn’t respond to traditional antibiotics for strep and can be fatal. It also happens to be quite contagious, which is why you will hear reports of outbreaks in hospitals and communities.


What you can do

What you can do is simple: Don’t ask for antibiotics if you have a viral infection. You may feel crummy as the virus runs its course, but an antibiotic wouldn’t help you feel better, anyway. If you do have an bacterial infection, take your medicine properly: in the dosage recommended and for the full 7-10 days as prescribed. If you don’t, imagine that little evil bacteria are still floating around your body, figuring out ways to get around the roadblocks you’ve put up against their existence.


Secondly, consider eating less meat. The meat industry is the No. 1 user of antibiotics in a preventive manner. They are fed to livestock, poultry and even fish to help them grow faster in relatively unsanitary conditions. We know that it’s hard to give up meat altogether, but less meat intake will reduce your exposure to unnecessary antibiotics.

Have more questions about antibiotics or want to get a flu shot in Spring Hill? The staff at our Spring Hill walk-in clinic are happy to answer any questions you have about your health. When you come in with symptoms, we don’t automatically prescribe antibiotics; we diagnose the root of the problem first. We are open 7 days a week for your convenience.