Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room

Chest pain, respiratory difficulties, stomach pain, broken bone; Do you visit the ER or an urgent care center?


Urgent Care Physician, Dr. Calvin Martin discusses your options when seeking emergency medical attention.

SIMEDHealth Urgent Care is located in Gainesville, Florida. We offer walk-in, in-person and virtual appointments.

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Should I Get My Flu Shot?

In the 2016-2017 season, the flu vaccine prevented 5.3 million people from getting influenza. The first week of December is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Data has shown that fewer people get their flu vaccinations, after November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We talked to Dr. Calvin Martin of SIMEDHealth First Care, and he stressed that it is never too late to get a flu shot. 


1. What is influenza?

Influenza, also known as "The Flu," is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. Influenza can infect animals and humans, with primarily two types affecting humans, Type A and Type B. 

There are parts of the world where Influenza viruses are active throughout the year. However, in the United States, these viruses typically increase in activity and prevalence in late autumn the winter months. There are many different subtypes of the Influenza virus, and several can develop into the predominant subtype during any particular flu season. The process of formulating the flu vaccine every year is an attempt to predict which subtype strains will become predominant. The predominant viruses can differ year to year; therefore, the vaccine that comes out each year is the one experts think most closely covers the predominant subtypes. 

Influenza symptoms commonly include body aches, fever, and coughing. Though it may take a few days for the virus to cause illness after a person is exposed, the flu symptoms can come on quickly, even over a few hours.

Exposure occurs from the virus particle being carried in the air, usually over very short distances, in the fluid droplets from a cough or a sneeze. These droplets land on a surface and can be picked up by touching the surface and then inadvertently touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

What sets influenza apart from other infections is its ability to spread very quickly through a population. In our modern times, with people being able to travel long distances very quickly and spending the majority of their time inside around many other people, the risk for the disease to spread quickly is heightened. 


2. The flu is seen as just a bad cold to some, but what are some complications that can arise from getting the flu?

Influenza infection is much more severe than the common cold, causing missed days from work or school due to the severity of symptoms. However, the flu can also lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or even death. Worldwide, every year, there are 3 to 5 million cases of influenza, and from 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. Populations most at risk from a severe case of influenza are children, the elderly, and those with medical issues that keep their immune system restricted, such as those receiving chemotherapy.


3. What are some benefits of getting the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine for each season usually becomes available in the late summer well before the flu season officially starts. Once the vaccine is given, the immune system reacts by making antibodies. It is crucial to know that the vaccine does not prevent someone from getting the flu. You can still be exposed to the virus, and it can still enter your body. However, if someone is exposed to the flu later in that season, the heightened immune system can recognize the virus early and stop it from progressing into a more severe illness. This immune process following vaccination usually takes a couple of weeks, so it is best to get the flu shot early in the season.


4. Where are flu vaccines administered?

Patients can receive a flu shot at their primary care doctor's office, many urgent care centers, and most pharmacies. Some companies may arrange to bring in medical staff to administer flu shots as a part of a company's health and wellness plan.


5. What are the reasons to avoid the flu vaccine?

There aren't many. Everyone older than six months of age is advised to receive the vaccine every year. There are many false claims about the flu shot that have been used by people to avoid receiving the vaccine. 

  • The flu shot does not cause the flu. You may have a day of very low-grade symptoms, but you will not get the flu from the vaccine. 
  • The shot is cultivated with egg-based technology; however, allergies to eggs are not a reason to avoid immunization.
  • Thinking you have got a cold or other mild illness is no reason to avoid the vaccine. Your immune system will still respond to the vaccine. 
  • Even if you have never gotten the flu and never get sick, you should still receive each season's vaccination.

Stop into First Care at SIMEDHealth to receive your flu shot. Click here to learn more about First Care and Dr. Martin.  

VIDEO: Should You Go to The ER for Broken Bones?

Fun fact: not all broken bones are the same. In this edition of E.R. or Urgent Care, Dr. Martin explains when you should go to an emergency room or urgent care for broken bones injuries.




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A note from our doctors: Any medical procedure associated with a hospital is going to come at a higher cost to you. If you’re hurt and need to see a doctor, consider the severity of your condition and give your primary care doctor or a local urgent care center a call before defaulting to an emergency department. This small change could save hundreds of dollars and hours of time.

Want to know which injuries require a visit to the E.R.? Learn more here

Do You Know the Warning Signs of Meningitis?

Meningitis is one of the 10 leading causes of death with over 1.2 million worldwide cases and 135,000 deaths per year.

But what exactly is meningitis and what should you know about it? 

“There is a protective lining of tissue around the brain and spinal cord called the meninges. Meningitis is inflammation of these tissues,” said Dr. Calvin Martin of SIMEDHealth Urgent Care.

Spread similarly to the common cold or flu, anyone can catch meningitis through close contact with anyone who has it by kissing, sharing beverages eating utensils, sneezing or coughing. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headaches and a stiff neck. However, according to Dr. Martin, there are a number of other symptoms to watch out for.

“If the cause is infectious, then there is usually high fever, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a rash. Additionally, meningitis can cause widespread problems in the body including sepsis (which may lead to organ failure), brain swelling (which may cause brain tissue to be squeezed out of the skull), seizures, altered mental status, blood clots (which may lead to paralysis), and death,” Dr. Martin said.

There are a number of factors which may put you at risk for this life-threatening illness. According to Dr. Martin these risks include:

  • Being over 65 years of age
  • Being in close conditions to someone with meningitis
  • Head trauma
  • Recent upper respiratory infection
  • Being a diabetic
  • Being an alcoholic
  • Injection drug abuse
  • Those with implanted medical devices in the skull

The best way to prevent against meningitis is to get immunized, said Dr. Martin. Other precautions include hand washing, avoiding exposure to those with the illness, eating well, getting good sleep and exercise to maintain a strong immune system. At SIMEDHealth we believe preventative care is the best way to ensure a healthy life.

“If you feel that you may have meningitis and have minor symptoms such as a headache, slightly stiff neck or low lever fever, consider being evaluated at First Care to determine your risk and symptoms,” Said Dr. Martin.

Set up an appointment with your primary care doctor today to request the meningitis vaccine. 

How to Prevent and Treat the 5 Most Common Summer Injuries

Planning to go swimming at the beach, relax on a boat or do some yard work this summer? Be careful.
Dr. Calvin Martin, a practicing Family Medicine physician at SIMED, sees patients at SIMED’s First Care in Gainesville with injuries related to these activities every summer, but he said it’s easy to avoid and treat these injuries and have a safe summer.
Learn about Dr. Martin’s five most common summer injuries and how to prevent and treat them so you can stay safe while having fun this summer.
How to Prevent and Treat the Five Most Common Summer Injuries Infographic

1. Sunburns

Every year people come in to see Dr. Martin with severe sunburns, but it’s easy to prevent them.
Sunburn Prevention:
1. Apply Sunscreen.
“Research shows that people don’t apply enough sunscreen. People think that if they use a high SPF, they don’t need to apply it as much or as often, but you should make sure to follow the label on the sunscreen bottle,” Dr. Martin explained.
Each product is different, and people don’t realize, but they tend to lose protection from sunscreen a lot faster when swimming. It’s important to remember to keep reapplying.
Dr. Martin also pointed out that the difference in protection between 100, 50 and 30 SPF is only a few percentage points, and one sunscreen might not protect you significantly more than the other. He recommends using at least 30 SPF.
2. Wear the Appropriate Clothing.
You can wear long sleeved shirts and clothes that are highly rated for sun protection. Wear quick drying, cool nylon. 
“You could also apply sunscreen, but if you’re wearing clothes, you don’t have to put sunscreen under them,” Dr. Martin explained.
3. Avoid Going Outside in the Middle of the Day.
“Just choose not to be in the sun right in the middle of the day,” Dr. Martin advised.
You can still get sunburned when it’s cloudy. You can also get sunburned through a window.
Sunburn Treatment:
1. Take ibuprofen or Aleve.
2. Use any kind of lotion to keep your skin moist.
3. Use products with aloe on the burns.

2. Slipping and Falling (Boating Injuries)

During the summer time, more people are out on the water, and if they aren’t careful, being on a boat can lead to some serious injuries. 
Slip and Fall Prevention:
1. Keep everything properly stored.
Improperly stored skis, paddles, kneeboards, wakeboards and other materials are all tripping hazards on boats. 
“You can even trip on a rope that is lying at the bottom of a boat and break a bone,” Dr. Martin cautioned.
2. Wear shoes with good traction.
Try to avoid flip-flops.
When the boat is wet, people can slip and fall. When people are loading and unloading the boat from the trailer, people can slip on the slick boat ramps and get broken bones and a number of other injuries. 
“That’s why wearing the right shoes is important,” Dr. Martin shared.
3. Follow general safety rules.
“My general advice is just make sure people are seated before you drive. Don’t drink and drive your boat. Make sure you pay attention and use caution,” Dr. Martin warned.
Slip and Fall Treatment:
1. Put ice on any kind of sprain, strain or injury.
2. Don’t use the injured body part until it gets examined by a doctor.
3. Severe pain and rapid bruising are good reasons to come in and get checked out as well.

3. Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can be found anywhere, and you can go weeks without noticing you were in contact with it. It’s important to know how to avoid it and what to do if you think you’ve come into contact with it.
It can take a few hours to two weeks for the rashes to show up, so it’s important to always be on your guard.
Poison Ivy Prevention:
1. Familiarize yourself with what poison ivy looks like.
“Get on the internet or get a book and see what poison ivy looks like,” Dr. Martin suggested.
 Poison ivy has three leaves in a triangle shape and a matte texture.
Poison ivy can be anywhere. If you’re pulling out weeds from old dead limbs, you can get poison ivy on your hands and not even notice it especially if you can’t recognize poison ivy.
2. Wash your hands and exposed areas of the body with soap and water.
“Wash your exposed areas with soap and water to get off the oil that got on your skin,” Dr. Martin recommended.
When people get the rashes, they usually think back to a time they were doing yardwork or going on a walk through the forest or another occasion. Because poison ivy contact can go undetected, you can accidentally get it on your hand and transfer it to another part of your body or someone else by touching them. That’s why it’s important to clean afterwards.
“People think two weeks later after they get the rash that when they scratched it, it transferred to another area of the body, but it can’t transfer to another body part, or to someone else, after you’ve washed the parts of your body in contact with it,” Dr. Martin explained.
Poison Ivy Treatment:
Poison ivy rashes have a more linear pattern than other rashes. If you think you’re infected with poison ivy, start treatment immediately as it can take days to weeks to heal.
1. Treat it with hydrocortisone cream.
2. Treat it with oral or topical Benadryl.
3. If the rash gets worse, go to the doctor for stronger treatments.


4. Swimmer’s Ear

Did you know Swimmer’s Ear isn’t just for swimmers? Swimmer’s Ear is when liquid gets trapped in your ear canal. You can get it in the shower, when you sweat or even when someone shoots champagne into your ear.
Swimmer’s Ear Prevention:
1. Try to avoid getting water into your ear.
2. After swimming, use isopropyl alcohol drops to drain the water out.
“While some people’s anatomy makes them more likely to get Swimmer’s Ear, it’s a good idea for everybody to use isopropyl alcohol after swimming,” Dr. Martin recommended.
3. Get ear plugs.
“People who are subject to getting it can purchase wax ear plugs that will mold to the shape of their ear and stop it from getting trapped,” Dr. Martin suggested.
Swimmer’s Ear Treatment:
Usually, symptoms become noticeable a few days after contact. Symptoms include pain, swelling, decreased hearing and painful chewing.
There isn’t a lot you can do to treat Swimmer’s Ear. If you get it, schedule an appointment with your doctor so they can prescribe treatment.

5. Mosquito Bites

Pesky mosquitos are more prevalent during the summer, and people spending more time outdoors increases the hazard of mosquito bites.
Mosquito Bite Prevention:
1. Wear DEET insect repellent. 
“DEET is the best and comes in varying degrees of strength. For DEET, the strength you’d use would depend on the amount of mosquitos in the area,” Dr. Martin explained.
While some people might avoid DEET due to health concerns, it’s generally regarded as safe.
2. Wear protective clothes.
3. Use thermacells.
Thermacells are butane torches that heat an area and keep mosquitos out of it. They’re useful if you want to keep mosquitos away from a specific location. 
4. Avoid wet, low-lying areas, especially at dusk and dawn.
Mosquitos are most prevalent at dawn and dusk, and they breed in wetlands which makes them more active in those areas.
Mosquito Bite Treatment:
1. Apply Benadryl topically or orally.
2. Use Hydrocortisone cream.
3. Use Sting Stop.
4. Avoid scratching the bites.
“Scratching them will only make it itch more,” Dr. Martin cautioned.
If there is an infection, redness or swelling around the bite that worsens over a couple of days or you have trouble breathing or swallowing go to a doctor.
Now that you know how to prevent and treat these common summer injuries, you can prepare yourself for time spent out in the summer sun. Remember to always be alert and stay safe.
If you have one of these injuries and feel like you need to see a doctor, you should contact an urgent care facility like SIMED’s First Care in Gainesville at 4343 Newberry Road for treatment.
You can reach First Care at 352-373-2340 or walk in without an appointment between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Dr. Martin sees patients with urgent care-related needs at First Care. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with him, call the number listed above or request an appointment through SIMEDHealth.com.

Hurt on the Job? Do you know what to do?

Dr. Martin, a physician at SIMED Urgent Care, states that over 50% of his patients are visiting due to work related injuries. The most common injuries are related to the back, knees and ankles.

There are simple things you can do to reduce the chance of accidental injury: look where you are going, be alert of your surroundings, lift with your legs and not your back, do not lift more than you can carry, and be properly trained with equipment you are using.

However, no matter how hard you try, accidents do happen and SIMED Urgent Care is here to help!

When injured on a job site, report the accident to your supervisor immediately. If you feel you have sustained life threating injuries, call 911. For any other type of minor injury, your options are the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center.

“Unless the patient has sustained a life threatening injury, visiting urgent care is the patient best option. Compared to the ER, the patient is likely to save time & money by visiting SIMED Urgent Care. Also, if they need to see a specialist, it is likely that we can get them into see a SIMED specialist on the same day.”
– Dr. Martin, MD, SIMED Urgent Care

In addition to diagnosing on the job accidents, SIMED Urgent Care provides physical exams, general medical care and occupational medicine as part of the practice. For whatever medical emergency may arise, SIMED Urgent Care will see, diagnose and treat you the same day! If you have any issues that need to be looked at closer, SIMED offers imaging and lab testing. For most situations, SIMED Urgent Care will have the supplies you need for recovery, and, if needed, can get prescriptions ready for you on site.

SIMED Urgent Care is familiar with the procedures that need to be followed when filling a claim through Workers Compensation and/or Occupational Medicine. For more information on how SIMED Urgent Care can meet your health needs visit  SIMED Urgent Care.

SIMED Urgent Care accepts walk-ins Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Located in Gainesville, FL 4343 Newberry Road
Contact SIMED Urgent Care at 352.373.2340