A late morning or an early afternoon slump may have you reaching for an energy drink to boost your energy and power up for the rest of the day. Packaged in attractive and portable cans, these drinks seem like little more than a soda designed to give you wings. But regular consumption can actually result in a quick trip to the emergency room or a fast track to a chronic health condition like hypertension.1
Marketed to youth, energy drinks are consumed mostly by children, teen and young adults. “While the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children and adolescents should not consume energy drinks, there still are many who do,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “They seem mostly unaware of the risk they are taking in spiking their hormone levels, overdosing on caffeine, and gambling with exacerbating a latent condition they may not even know they have, such as a heart arrhythmia.”
What’s in an energy drink?
The main source of energy in an energy drink comes from caffeine. While caffeine content varies, energy drinks generally have three to six times the amount of caffeine as coffee does. Also, considering how quickly a can could be consumed, that could be comparable to drinking six cups of coffee in 30 minutes.
There are five basic components most energy drinks share.
- Caffeine – a legally addictive substance. Too much caffeine increases heart rate and blood pressure and causes insomnia and anxiety.2
- Taurine – an amino acid that possibly stimulates brain activity and increases physical performance.2 A ban on taurine has made many energy drinks illegal in other countries.
- Sugar – most people don’t realize that energy drinks contain as much or more sugar than regular sodas. That’s a whopping amount of sugar to consume regularly and can result in unhealthy weight gain.
- Guarana – from a tropical plant from South America, these seeds contain a high caffeine content.3
- Glucuronolactone – claimed to be a caffeine-like stimulant, there is no scientific evidence to support its use.3
What does your energy drink do to your body?
Caffeine triggers a supercharging of receptors which then release norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the brain.1 Additionally, there is an increased risk of caffeine intoxication which causes a myriad of bad side effects and potentially lasting damage.
“Energy drinks can easily lead to caffeine overdoses which can lead to seizures, heart problems and death,” said Dr. Khan. “When combined with alcohol, the effects can be masked which can cause a person to not realize how much damage they are doing to their body.”
What are common symptoms of an energy drink-related emergency?
- Heart complications – irregular heartbeat, racing heart, heart failure
How can I get an energy boost without the risk of energy drinks?
Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you get the vitamins and minerals needed to keep your energy at an even keel. Protein can give you long-lasting energy burns. Low-to-no caffeine teas or coffee can also be substituted for energy drinks. Sports drinks have a lot of additives but can be researched and considered as an alternative to energy drinks.
Getting plenty of water will help your body operate at its peak. Milk and 100% fruit juice should be offered in place of manufactured drinks.4 Sales of these drinks should take the place of energy drinks in schools and colleges.5
Get Help Fast at Medco ER
If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms from energy drink consumption or alcohol mixed with energy drinks, come in right away to the nearest Medco ER. We are open 24/7 every day of the year and our board-certified physicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating these conditions.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370
- Carrollton: 2745 E Belt Line Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Call us @ 469-840-4600
Today, if you wake up with a headache, fever, sore throat, cough and body aches, you probably will spend significant time wondering if it is the flu or COVID. In the past, you may have spent a few minutes running down a list of people you’d been around who had the flu, but now you have to worry about exposure to COVID-19. As the threat of the new Omicron variant looms large, we have to be especially vigilant with ourselves and our children. So how do you know if it’s Influenza A or if it’s COVID? At Medco ER & Urgent Care in Plano, TX, our board-certified physicians are here to help you answer that dilemma.
“The difficulty is in the shared symptoms,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “Both influenza and COVID can present with fever, chills, muscle soreness, and cough. Some people experience diarrhea and vomiting with either condition. So, short of getting tested, it is hard to know whether it’s flu or COVID.”
There are many similarities between flu and COVID-19, though the severity can vary. People may experience very mild cases of either condition, or they can experience severe cases and even need hospitalization. Either flu or COVID can result in secondary infections, such as pneumonia, and require advanced treatment.
Here’s a list of the common symptoms1 that can occur in either condition:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
“One of the most prominent symptoms that may help you know the difference is the classic loss of the senses of taste and smell. Usually, that is a good way to realize you probably have COVID and should come in and get tested right away,” said Dr. Khan. “Additionally, if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, that is another indicator of COVID, but it could also mean you’re moving into a chest condition with the flu. But that should be looked at right away by one of our qualified physicians.”
How it is spread
Both the flu and COVID are highly contagious, though they are caused by completely different viruses. They are both spread through contact with other people who are infected with the germs. Coughs and sneezes can transmit microscopic droplets laden with the virus, or even just talking can transmit the virus. When these droplets are inhaled or enter through the eyes or mouth, the virus then spreads to that person.2
Medco ER & Urgent Care is ready to help
If you are unsure if you have the flu or COVID, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away for a Rapid Antigen Test with one swipe swab. Results are ready in 15 minutes, so you will know right away if you have the flu or COVID. Not ready to come in? Try a telehealth visit and get fast advice from one of our board-certified physicians.
- Book a Rapid Antigen Test at Plano:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000
- Book a Rapid Antigen Test at Carrollton:
2745 E Belt Line Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Looking forward to the elaborate holiday feasts but dreading your blood sugar swings, exhaustion and weight gain? At Medco ER & Urgent Care in Plano, TX, our board-certified physicians have put together 8 tips to help you make the best choices for a home run healthy, happy holiday season.
“The holidays are fraught with tension, extra work and poor eating choices,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “But with a bit of planning, you can reduce your stress and feel better as you spend time with loved ones.”
Avoid feast or famine
It’s easy to skip a meal or two in advance to get ready for a big holiday feast, and then pile it on once you get to the table. This is a sure way to make your blood sugar swing wildly. Instead, eat a small snack before going to the party and watch your portions once you get there.
Make it count
While you don’t have to rigidly count calories at your family gatherings, it is advisable to be judicial in choosing where you are willing to spend the most calories. Choose your favorite foods and take smaller portions of them.1
Drink more not less
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. But go easy on the rest of the drinks. Remember that egg nog, punch, soda and alcoholic drinks can pack a whopping amount of calories where a fruited water spritzer has none. Also, alcohol makes you hungrier and reduces your ability to make healthy choices.1
Say goodbye to stress
Knowing that stress levels will be high during the holidays, you can make a plan now for ways to reduce it. Simplify your expectations to center on the most important people and traditions. Plan breaks for yourself.2 Choose shortcuts for the month, such as preparing freezer-ready meals in advance. Get plenty of rest. Eat well and exercise.
Slower is better
Remembering that it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that your stomach is full, take longer between courses and go slow on second helpings. A side benefit is less heartburn from not overeating.
Green is good
If you are a snacker, make sure there are plenty of fresh vegetables to grab. Avoid standing next to the snack table where it is tempting to grab more chips. Make sure you put plenty of veggies on your plate during the feast, too.3
Sneak in the substitutions
Don’t be afraid to look for healthier options for traditional foods. No one will mind that there is Monkfruit sweetener in the pies, chicken broth with only a bit of butter in the stuffing, hummus for raw veggies or yogurt dip for the fruit tray. Healthy choices like fanciful pear-pomegranate-pistachio salads with raspberry vinaigrettes can joyfully replace traditional butter-swamped or mushroom soup-covered hot vegetables.
Avoid the allergens
If you suffer from food allergies or are sensitive to things like gluten or monosodium glutamate (MSG), keep that in mind before diving into the dips, cookies and other scrumptious-looking treats. Russian tea cakes have ground up nuts and flavored chips and dips often have MSG.
Medco ER & Urgent Care is here when you need us
Since medical concerns don’t care if it’s the holidays or if it’s the middle of the night, Medco ER & Urgent Care is open all day and night, every day of the year, to provide you with the quality healthcare you need. If you or your loved ones aren’t feeling well, come in right away for an expert evaluation and treatment plan.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000
When is a tooth infection or a tooth abscess reason to go to the emergency room? When a minor infection goes from mild discomfort to a throbbing pain with swollen gums, it’s time to go to Medco ER & Urgent Care in Plano, TX. A tooth infection or an abscessed tooth can quickly become a life-threatening condition if left untreated.
“Any time you are experiencing tooth pain, you can come to see us and we will help you right away,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “It’s not always possible to get in to see your dentist at a moment’s notice, but we can help treat the infection, get bleeding under control, reduce pain, and address tooth fractures while you wait for further dental procedures.”
Symptoms of Tooth Infection
A tooth abscess has very noticeable symptoms including:1
- Sore gums next to the tooth
- Discoloration of gums next to the tooth
- Swollen gums
- Swollen cheek
- Bleeding gums
- Pain, throbbing toothache that can include the jaw and neck
- Loosened tooth
- Bad taste in mouth
- Inability to chew
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Accelerated heart rate and breathing
“Emergency symptoms include difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, and swelling of the jaw and face. These are warning signs that the infection is spreading, which can be very dangerous,” said Dr. Kahn. “The body could go into sepsis, which requires emergency medical intervention.”
Causes of Tooth Pain
Tooth abscesses are most commonly caused by cavities that have spread down to the sensitive root tip of the tooth where the soft pulp contains the nerve bundle. A pocket of pus can collect there and can involve the blood supply to the tooth which then can spread the infection throughout the body if left untreated. Or, the infection can be next to the tooth and involve more of the gums, causing them to swell and discolor.
There are 3 main causes of tooth abscesses: poor oral hygiene, high sugar diet, and dry mouth which can be caused by certain medications or aging.1 Additionally, tooth pain and infection can result from cracks or fractures to the tooth’s enamel or injury to the tooth.
Treatment of Tooth Infection
Your board-certified physician at Medco ER & Urgent Care will diagnose your tooth pain through examination and possibly by taking an X-ray. Infection will be treated with antibiotics, possibly administered intravenously, and bleeding will be stopped.
Prevention of Tooth Abscess
Good oral hygiene is your best defense against tooth infections. Brush 2 to 3 times a day and floss each day to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Salt water rinses and hydrogen peroxide can help cut down on the amount of bacteria attacking the teeth and gums. Use fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water. Eat healthy foods and avoid snacks between meals, especially sugary snacks.1 Visit your dentist regularly. Replace your toothbrush 3 to 4 times a year.
Get help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
When your tooth pain is getting worse and your gums are swollen, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away for quality medical treatment. We are open 24/7 every day of the year because we know that tooth infections can crop up any time day or night. We can help you start to feel better again by reducing the infection and easing the pain.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000
A mild twinge may soon bloom into a bout of painful, frequent, bloody and unproductive urination known as a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI is a painful condition caused by bacterial growth anywhere in the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra, although it may also be called a bladder infection or kidney infection if it is located there. At Medco ER & Urgent Care of Plano, TX, we can diagnose and treat a UTI before it becomes too painful.
“Most women and many men will experience at least one UTI during their lifetime,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “Fortunately, it is one of the easiest conditions to diagnose and to treat.”
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms can be anywhere from mild to severe. They may or may not include:1
- Pain or burning during urination
- Persistent sensation of needing to urinate without urine present
- Frequent urination of small amounts
- Discolored urine – dark, pink, deep yellow, or brownish
- Cloudy urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain in women
- Burning pain
- Back pain
- Side pain
- Fever, chills
- Nausea, vomiting
Causes of UTI
A UTI is caused by the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract.2 A common cause is bacteria entering from the rectum to the urethra. Sexual activity may also introduce bacteria that can cause a UTI.
Risk Factors for UTI
You are more likely to develop a UTI if you:3
- Are sexually active
- Are a woman after menopause
- Have a condition that blocks the urethra, such as an enlarged prostate
- Have kidney stones
- Are a woman who has used a diaphragm or spermicides for birth control
- Have diabetes
- Have had a UTI in the past
- Have used a catheter
- Are immunocompromised
Prevention of UTI
While a UTI can be hard to prevent, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risks. For babies and children, make sure they are receiving enough water every day. Teach girls the proper way to wipe – from front to back. For adults, make sure you are also drinking enough water each day. Cranberry juice may be beneficial. Urinating after sexual intercourse may help purge the urethra of bacteria. Change from polyester underwear to cotton and wear loose-fitting, breathable pants. Minimize or eliminate sprays, douches, powders or soaps that may irritate.
Diagnosis of UTI
Your physician at Medco ER will have you give a urine sample for testing. In some cases, a cystoscopy, ultrasound or CT scan may be required if you have been experiencing repeated UTIs.
Treatment for UTI
Treating a UTI is almost always successful with a course of antibiotics. Patients need to take the antibiotics according to the prescription to fully eradicate the infection.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
“A urinary tract infection must be treated by a medical professional. At-home remedies never work,” said Dr. Khan. “They may slow the bacterial growth but they won’t fully reverse the infection. It’s not an invasive or difficult treatment, so come to Medco ER right away and get the help you need to get over the UTI.”
If left untreated, a life-threatening condition of widespread infection, called sepsis, may occur. Or, the kidneys may be permanently damaged. If you are experiencing painful urination or have any of the above symptoms, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away.
Get help for your UTI at Medco ER & Urgent Care
It doesn’t take long for a UTI to become painful. When you start to notice symptoms of a UTI, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away. We’re open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We will make sure you are seen by a board-certified physician right away. Our in-house rapid results labs can verify diagnosis and you can soon be on your way to feeling like yourself again.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) and COVID-19 are both highly contagious respiratory illnesses and can easily spread to others. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.
COVID-19 is caused by the 2019 coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2.
Flu is caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.
- Both illnesses can cause fever, cough, body aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (especially in children).
- Both can result in pneumonia.
- Both flu and COVID-19 can be mild or severe, or even fatal in rare cases.
COVID-19 can sometimes cause a person to suddenly lose their sense of smell (anosmia) or taste (ageusia).
By contrast, flu does not typically affect a person’s sense of smell or taste.
Shortness of breath is quite common with COVID-19 while it is a rare symptom of the flu.
Many people infected with the coronavirus do not feel sick or have any symptoms at all, but they can still transmit the virus to other people. By contrast, most people infected with flu tend to be symptomatic.
So how long does it take for symptoms to appear after exposure and infection?
If a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer to develop symptoms than if they had flu.
Typically, a person develops symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection.
Typically, a person develops symptoms 5 days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.
How do they spread?
- Both the flu and COVID-19 spread in similar ways. Droplets or smaller virus particles from a sick person can transmit the virus to other people nearby. The smallest particles may linger in the air, and another person can inhale them and become infected.
- However, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, though research is ongoing.
- Again, it’s important to note that people infected with the coronavirus or the flu may not realize they are sick for several days and, during that time, can unknowingly spread the disease to others before they even feel sick.
What are some complications caused by these illnesses?
Both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications, including:
- Respiratory failure requiring supplemental oxygen support
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs), which usually lands people in ICU
- Heart problems
- Multiple-organ failure (respiratory failure, kidney failure, shock) commonly known as sepsis
- Secondary bacterial infections
Additional complications associated with COVID-19 can include:
- Blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain
COVID-19 close to 3%. FLU causes <1% of deaths among the people infected.
Testing Options available:
Influenza or the FLU:
First of all, influenza virus testing is not required to make a clinical diagnosis of influenza in patients with suspected influenza, particularly during periods of increased cases. However, influenza virus testing can inform clinical management when these results may influence decisions such as:
- initiating antiviral treatment
- performing other diagnostic testing
- implementing infection prevention and control measures for influenza
Influenza virus testing is recommended for all patients with suspected influenza who are being admitted to the hospital. Furthermore, during a respiratory illness outbreak in a closed setting (such as long-term care facility or nursing homes), testing for influenza virus infection can be very helpful in determining if influenza is the cause of the outbreak.
There are several diagnostic tests available for detection of influenza viruses in respiratory specimens.
For the purposes of this forum, I would just like to mention the Rapid Influenza Diagnostic tests, which are readily available in outpatient settings, such as the doctors’ office and urgent care clinics. They can detect influenza viral antigens in 10-15 minutes with a reasonable accuracy.
Since COVID-19 is a new disease, information about the tests to detect the disease with high accuracy is still evolving. But here’s what we know now about tests that are currently available to the public:
Diagnostic tests for current COVID-19 infection:
If you want to know if you are currently infected with the COVID-19 virus, there are TWO types of tests:
- Molecular tests
- Antigen tests
Molecular tests (also called PCR tests)
How is it done? Nasal swabs, throat swabs, and tests of saliva or other bodily fluids.
You can get it done at a hospital or in a medical office.
What does the test look for? Molecular tests look for genetic material that comes only from the virus.
How long does it take to get results? It depends on lab capacity. Results may be ready the same day, but usually take at least a day or two. Throughout the pandemic, especially lately, delayed turnaround times of up to a week or two have been reported in many places.
A molecular test using a deep nasal swab is usually the best option, because it will have fewer false negative results than other diagnostic tests or samples from throat swabs or saliva. People who are in the hospital, though, may have other types of samples taken.
It is also performed using a nasal or throat swab.
It can be obtained at a hospital or doctor’s office or even at home (Quest Diagnostics, costs around $130).
If the test is negative, it should be confirmed by the PCR test which is more specific for COVID-19
This is a third type of test that requires a sample of blood. It checks for antibodies in the blood. However, it does not differentiate between the present and past infection.
Moreover, having an antibody test too early can lead to false negative results. That’s because it takes a week or two after infection for your immune system to produce antibodies.
The bottom line:
Unfortunately, getting a test for COVID-19 can be confusing because the options are changing and tests from many companies are being marketed. Despite the current limitations of testing, we’re lucky to have reasonably accurate tests available so early in the course of a newly identified virus.
Getting a flu vaccine this year may be more important than ever to reduce stress on healthcare facilities that are already busy with COVID-19 care.
Emergency care available
If you are having trouble breathing, have chest pain, inability to stay awake, confusion or blue lips or face, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care immediately for help.
If you suspect you have COVID-19, come in for evaluation.
If you think you have COVID-19 and you have a preexisting, chronic medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, asthma, obesity, lung disease or if you are pregnant, come in for evaluation.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.
– Dr. Tariq Vora, Medco ER & Urgent Care
We’ve all seen the memes to combat the coronavirus scare that’s paralyzing the world: “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands,” and there is a lot of truth to that glib comment. Social media has unending anecdotal remarks to offer in the never-ending quest to keep yourself and your children healthy during this busy flu and coronavirus season. But what do the medical experts have to say?
We’ve compiled our 5 best suggestions for staying healthy and avoiding the flu or coronavirus.
1. Wash your hands the right way
Yes, everyone knows we need to wash our hands frequently during flu season, but it might be a surprise to hear that very few adults do it correctly. Begin with warm water and plenty of soap. Make sure to wash the backs of the hands and the fingernails as well. Wash for 20 seconds, or two rounds of “Happy Birthday.” Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
Take time to remind and reteach your children how to wash the right way and quiz them on opportunities they have at school to wash and to use hand sanitizer. “Hand washing is the #1 way to get rid of coronavirus germs,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora.
2. Cover up
When you sneeze or cough, use a tissue or cover your mouth with your elbow to block microscopic particles from becoming airborne. Wash or sanitize after sneezing. Some people have opted to wear medical masks in public to reduce the risk of exposure.
3. Avoid contact
Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose, mouth – to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting germs. If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others. Don’t share eating utensils or glasses. Use your own towels, bedding and clothes and keep them clean. If you know someone who is sick, avoid that person until he or she has been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
4. Build up your immune system
Diets high in refined sugars and starches can weaken immune systems. Limit the amount of sugars and empty carbs you and your children are consuming and opt instead for extra vegetables and fruits at mealtimes and as snacks.
Consider adding foods rich in:
- Vitamin C – kiwis, lemons, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, oranges
- Zinc – dairy, eggs, meat, whole grains, legumes, nuts
5. Develop clever ways to protect your hands from germs
Think through your day. Do you have to touch elevator buttons to get to work? Do you ride an escalator or travel a lot of stairs? Does your store or ATM have a touch screen? Do you share a keyboard with others? How many public doors do you have to open as you go about a typical work day? Do you look at a menu at the restaurant? Begin strategizing how to get through your day with less contact with public surfaces. Do the same for your child.
Gloves, tissues, paper towels, a pencil and other devices can provide a layer of protection as you navigate. A natural antibacterial spray for the air, such as tea tree oil and water, can help cut down airborne germs. And, of course, don’t forget the hand sanitizer for times you have to touch a public surface and don’t have a chance to wash.
When should I go to the ER?
A common variety of flu can be treated with rest, fluids and staying home. Over-the-counter fever reducers, cough suppressants and decongestants may provide some relief. However, secondary infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia can crop up and they require prompt medical attention. As a general rule, if you are still feeling bad after 3 days, seek medical help. If you are having difficulty breathing or have become too dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately.
With the coronavirus, symptoms can manifest anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. If you think you or your child may have contracted this virus, go to the nearest ER immediately. “Because the coronavirus requires containment and medical supervision, it is important that you tell your doctor right away if you think you have contracted the virus,” said Dr. Vora. “Include any information about recent travels and any exposure you may have had.”
Warning signs of coronavirus / COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
Where can I find help for the flu or virus?
For fast medical help, Medco ER & Urgent Care is available in two convenient locations. We’re always open, day and night, even on holidays. Within minutes of arriving, you will be ushered into a private room and will receive prompt care from a board-certified physician.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road. Call us @ 469-392-4000.
- Frisco: 5600 Eldorado Parkway across from McDonald’s and Costco. Call us @ 469-392-4100.