When an infection forms within the body in a confined space and the tissue around it becomes inflamed, it’s known as an abscess. While they can form anywhere, abscesses commonly form in the groin, breasts, buttocks, gums, and other areas of the body prone to minor trauma. Cellulitis can appear with an abscess or even appear before it. MD First Primary & Urgent Care can help diagnose, treat, and help you prevent abscesses at its Lancaster, SC location.

What Causes An Abscess?

There are multiple causes for abscesses, the most common being the presence of streptococcus and staphylococcus for the majority of instances. Enteric organisms are known to be involved in the formation of perianal abscesses, those that form in or around the anus. Abscesses in the oral cavity typically occur as a result of advanced periodontal disease caused by poor dental hygiene. When an abscess forms, it can create a significant risk for the patient along with causing pain, degrading bone, and otherwise resulting in lasting damage if left untreated.

An abscess present on a patient's ear

How Are Abscesses Treated?

The most common approach to abscess treatment is I&D, or incision and drainage. Antibiotic therapy and warm compresses can aid in the resolution of abscesses less than 5mm in size. Larger abscesses will require draining due to the presence of inflammation and pus in the cavity that forms in these cases. Less conservative measures typically aren’t as successful in treating cases of this type.

What Happens If The Abscess Remains Untreated?

There are two typical results in cases where an abscess remains untreated. In some cases, the abscess will remain deep within the body and reabsorb into the system. The other common possibility is that the epithelium will attenuate, resulting in the abscess rupturing at the surface of the skin and draining spontaneously. If this occurs and the abscess was quite large extensive sloughing of the skin can occur, resulting in large scars. Incising and draining the abscess helps to prevent its growth and speed the healing of the area where the abscess formed. 

What Should I Expect After An Incision & Drainage Procedure?

The procedure itself is relatively simple and risk-free, especially in cases where the abscess has been treated promptly. The most important post-treatment practice is watching the site closely until it is fully healed to ensure the infection doesn’t recur. If the patient is unable to change their own dressing due to capability or location, family, or other members of their support system must be taught to do so properly.

What Complications Can Occur as Part of an Incision & Drainage Treatment?

The most common problem that occurs as part of the treatment is discomfort due to insufficient or ineffective anesthesia. This can result in pain during the procedure, and for some patients, the incision may be tender following the treatment. Bleeding or scarring may occur, and if the area isn’t properly cared for risk of the abscess reforming exists. In rare cases, the area may become septic, the patient may contract necrotizing fasciitis or damage to the nerves, and blood vessels may occur. In most cases, the procedure has no complications, and the patient will heal well without recurrence of the abscess.

How Do I Care For The Incision & Drainage Site?

It is essential that you keep the area properly covered with an absorbent material after cleaning and drying the wound. Large abscesses may contain packed gauze, which should be removed every other day until the cavity has healed and no longer has space to be packed. If you do not feel you can do this process yourself, you will need to return to the facility as directed to have it done for you. The dressing should be replaced daily, and pain killers may be prescribed if necessary.

If you think you’ve found an abscess, then drop by our offices at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, or make an appointment by calling 1-803-283-2300. Our team of medical experts will be happy to help you resolve your concern and welcome you to our patient family.

If you’re employed in a position that is considered to be “safety-sensitive” by the Department of Transportation, you may be required to receive a DOT physical. People who work in these positions have been determined to have a job that can have a direct impact on their safety and potentially that of the public. Strict guidelines have been set by the FMCSA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to ensure that those in these jobs are able to perform these jobs safely. MD First Primary & Urgent Care has been providing DOT physicals to the Lancaster, SC community for years through appointments and walk-ins at the Urgent Care center.

What Is Required For My DOT Physical?

You should bring a list of your doctors’ names and office locations and the medications you are presently taking. Included should be the doses and how often you take them. You can save yourself some time by being sure to fill out a medical history before coming to the clinic for your physical. Some medical issues may require you to bring additional items and documents for the test. 

If you have a health condition not mentioned here or have additional questions, please call our clinic at 1-803-283-2300 for answers from our qualified medical staff.

What Is Covered During My DOT Physical?

Physician performing a physical

Your visit to our clinics for a DOT physical will involve tests covering a number of senses and health concerns. These will include the following:

In addition to these concerns, a broad range of concerns will be checked during the physical to ensure that the driver meets the minimal health requirements of the condition. These include:

These exams must be completed by a medical examiner who has an FMCSA certification. MD First Primary & Urgent Care has qualified staff members available to perform these tests and get you driving again in no time. Call 1-803-238-2300 for an appointment or drop by our clinic at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, to receive a physical today.

Earwax is a part of the defensive system of our bodies, serving to lubricate, clean, and protect the ear canal. Earwax helps to trap dirt and makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow in the ear canal. However, it’s possible for it to accumulate and harden to the point that it doesn’t wash away naturally. When this happens, earwax, also known as cerumen, will need to be removed by your physician. Trying to remove impacted earwax on your own can be dangerous, and you should never stick anything in your ear canal, so make sure you leave it to a medical professional.

How Will I Know If I’m Experiencing Impacted Earwax?

The impaction of earwax can occur slowly over a long period of time, making it difficult to notice when you’re experiencing issues related to it. The most common symptoms include difficulty hearing, a feeling of fullness in your ears, earache, and tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. Some patients will experience more severe symptoms, including dizziness, coughing, and earaches. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor today.

What Causes Earwax To Become Impacted?

Inside your ears are glands in the skin that slowly secrete earwax that builds up to line the outer portion of your ear canals. This wax, combined with the tiny hairs in your ear canal, helps capture foreign particles like dust and prevent them from getting to the delicate structures deeper in. Wax slowly makes its way to the opening of the ear canal and washes away as part of showering or just falls out. This happens as new wax is secreted to replace it. Patients who secrete large amounts of wax or in whom it doesn’t naturally clear away can experience build up and impaction of earwax. A cause of impacted earwax that surprises many patients is the use of cotton swabs to clean the ear. This practice can actually push the wax into the ear leading to it building up rather than cleaning it out.

How Do I Know It’s Time To See A Doctor About My Earwax Blockage?

If you’re experiencing the conditions mentioned above, it’s time to visit your primary care doctor. There’s no way to tell if you’re experiencing impacted earwax without having someone qualified take a look in your ear for signs. There are other conditions the aforementioned symptoms can suggest, and only your doctor will know for sure. Attempting to remove impacted earwax on your own can be dangerous, especially if you’ve recently undergone ear surgery or have holes in your eardrum. If your ear is draining fluid or in pain, you should absolutely leave this process to a professional.

Doctor using a syringe to administer warm water to patients ear for wax removal

How Are Impacted Earwax Blockages Treated?

When your physician has determined that you have a blockage, they’ll use one of a few methods to remove it. An instrument called a curet was specifically designed to remove wax from the ear canal and is one of the tools your physician may use. Warm water filled rubber-syringes are also used, along with water picks and certain forms of suction devices. None of these approaches should be tried on your own, and ear candling has proved largely ineffective and even dangerous as a home remedy.

If you have concerns about impacted earwax, make a call to our offices for an appointment, or drop in at our urgent care at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster SC. Our medical team has been helping our community with medical concerns like this for years, and a call to 1-803-230-2300 can get you on the road to clean ears and clear hearing today!

Echocardiograms, also known as an “Echo Test” are a non-invasive and painless test that examines the heart’s health and function without the use of radiation. This test can provide your physicians with information that’s essential to understanding how your heart is performing and what conditions or diseases may be affecting it. It can also reveal that your heart is in perfect working order. MD First Primary & Urgent Care has the equipment and skilled staff necessary to perform these procedures for our patients.

What Are Echocardiograms?

These tests make use of ultrasound technology to provide the physician with images of the heart’s chambers and valves. These images help reveal the current health of your heart and any potential health issues, such as malfunctioning valves. These tests have been available for many years, and the quality of the images that they can produce continues to improve. Modern echocardiograms provide 3-dimensional images that reveal even more important information for the technician.

Why Would My Doctor Want Me To Have An Echocardiogram?

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart diseases including swollen legs, pain or discomfort in the chest, or shortness of breath, your physician may order this test. Other reasons an echocardiogram may be ordered include the presence of a heart murmur, suspected problems with heart valves, or damage to the heart muscle. Other diagnostic tests may accompany an echo test depending on why it’s being ordered.

How Do I Prepare For An Echocardiogram?

These tests don’t require you to do anything special to prepare for them. You are able to eat and drink normally before the test and should continue to take any medication you’ve been prescribed. These tests take a relatively short amount of time, typically no more than an hour. You will not need any additional transportation assistance or follow special protocols before arriving.

How Are Echocardiograms Performed?

The test will start with changing into a hospital gown and being lain down on a table. You will be accompanied by a sonographer, a technician specializing in ultrasound. They’ll apply a special gel to the end of an ultrasound wand before moving it around on your chest near the heart. The gel is often a little cold, but that is the extent of the discomfort you’ll experience during the test. A contrast injection may be necessary in some cases so the physician can better identify the borders of the heart.

Echocardiagram readings on a monitor

When Will I Get The Results Of My Test?

If your cardiologist is able to read the results of the test it won’t take much time at all for your doctor to report the results of your test. If a non-cardiologist ordered the test they won’t receive the results for up to 48 hours.

What Types Of Echocardiogram Are There?

The traditional echocardiogram described above is the most common one performed. However, in cases where your physician desires to more closely inspect your heart valves, they may perform a transesophageal echocardiogram. In this procedure, the ultrasound wand is inserted into the esophagus through the throat where it will be right behind the heart. Another form of echocardiogram is the exercise stress echocardiogram. This test is done with the patient on a treadmill or stationary bike to see how the heart performs under stress.

If you’ve got more questions about echocardiograms or need to schedule one at the advisement of your physician give our offices a call at 1-803-238-2300 or drop by our offices today. We’ll set you up with one of our sonographers to perform your echocardiogram and have your results in no time at all.

When your physician suspects that there may be issues regarding your heart, they may order an electrocardiogram. These tests are used to monitor the health of the heart and are commonly performed in clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals alike. The equipment necessary to perform this test is so accessible that they are now standard issue in operating rooms and ambulances alike. These tests are painless, noninvasive, valuable for monitoring heart health. MD First Primary & Urgent Care has this equipment in our offices and is able to perform these tests when needs dictate.

How Are Electrocardiograms Performed?

Every time your heart beats, it is because it was triggered by an electrical pulse from a special set of cells. These cells, known as pacemaker cells, are located in your heart’s upper right chamber. An Electrocardiogram, or EKG, tracks these cells and records their strength and timing as the pulses they emit travel through your heart.

What Is A 12-lead EKG/ECG?

You may see this term in your doctor’s notes or in medical documentation. The term comes from the fact that an EKG measures 12 separate parts of the heart using ten electrodes placed around your chest and limbs. The resulting data is presented as a graph of waves, with the patterns indicating the various phases of your heartbeat. A typical EKG can only reveal abnormal heart rhythms if you’re undergoing the test when it happens. As abnormal heartbeats may not be constant, there are other forms of EKG that may be used depending on your condition.

Patient's chest with EKG Pads attached

Why Are EKG’s Performed?

The noninvasive and painless nature of this test makes it perfect for detecting common heat problems. The types of information the test can reveal include:

A rhythm test may be ordered if you’ve been experiencing certain symptoms. These symptoms may include:

This test will typically not be performed if you are at low risk for these conditions. A family history of these conditions may cause your doctor to order an EKG even in the absence of symptoms as an early screening test.

Are There Any Risks With An EKG?

This procedure is almost entirely safe, with no risk of shock and almost no risk of any other complications. The few risks associated with an EKG include skin reactions to the electrode adhesive. Stress tests can occasionally trigger heart attacks or irregular heart rhythms. Some other forms of EKG tests involve longer test periods covering days. With these tests, irritation can result if you don’t move the electrodes each day.

If you have any other questions about EKG’s, then feel free to drop by our clinic at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC. You can call our office to reach our medical staff at 1-803-283-2300 during our office hours.

Ingrown toenails are a painful condition caused by the toenail growing into the soft flesh surrounding the nail. In minor cases, the toe becomes tender, swelling painfully and turning red. In severe cases, an infection can set in requiring antibiotics and intervention by a physician. The big toe is the most common location for ingrown toenails to occur. In most cases, it’s possible for ingrown toenail sufferers to manage their condition on their own. A physician is only required when home care efforts have been unsuccessful.

What Symptoms Let Me Know I Have An Ingrown Toenail?

The most common symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

How Can I Care For Or Prevent My Ingrown Toenail At Home?

There are steps you can take to avoid your ingrown toenail from becoming severe enough to require medical intervention. It starts with prevention. Preventing ingrown toenails starts by practicing proper nail hygiene, cutting your toenails straight instead of curved to match your toe shape. Toenails shouldn’t be allowed to grow beyond the tip of your toes, nor be trimmed back further than this point. Short toenails can grow into the tissue around your nail, especially when shoes cause pressure on them.

Properly fitting shoes are also essential, as toes that pinch or place pressure on your toes can cause ingrown toenails to occur. If you work in an area where damage to your toes is possible, be certain to wear proper protective gear in the form of steel-toed shoes. Those who suffer from diabetes should check their toes every day for foot problems, including ingrown toenails.

How Do I Know It’s Time To See The Doctor?

If you’ve been experiencing tenderness or painfulness in your toe for extended periods of time, or you have an ingrown toenail condition that’s recurring, it may be time to see your physician. Any sign of infection, such as pus, merits an immediate visit to your doctor. If you have diabetes, it’s critical that you visit a physician if you have any kind of infection or sore on your feet.

An infected ingrown toenail weeping blood and pus

What Happens If My Ingrown Toenail Isn’t Properly Treated?

Once an ingrown toenail moves into the infection stage, it must be treated before it becomes life-threatening. The infection has the possibility of moving into the bone and causing a bone infection in patients who are otherwise healthy. Those who suffer from diabetes can experience even more severe repercussions, up to and including the amputation of the foot or leg from complications related to infections and diabetes. If your toenail has become infected, especially if you have diabetes, it’s time for a visit to your physician immediately.

If you have questions about ingrown toenail treatments or want to have your ingrown toenail looked at by one of our experts, give us a call at 1-803-283-2300 for an appointment today. You’ll be scheduled for an appointment and brought in for an evaluation. You can also stop in for a walk-in visit at our office at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, for immediate care at our urgent care center.

Whether through work, play, or accident cuts and lacerations are common wounds that require a visit to a medical facility. If you’ve experienced a wound of this type, it’s important that you get help as soon as possible to help it heal quickly, cleanly, and with minimal scarring. The experts at MD First Primary & Urgent Care see hundreds of patients every year for cuts and lacerations, ranging from mild to severe. If you’re trying to determine if you need to see a physician for your injury, keep reading, call 1-803-238-2300, or stop by our clinic at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC.

What Is The Difference Between A Cut and Laceration?

When the skin has been separated without a corresponding loss of tissue, it is classified as a cut. These kinds of wounds are typically caused by a clean, sharp edge, such as found on a knife or with sharp glass. Lacerations, on the other hand, are a wound that is jagged and torn without a corresponding loss of tissue. In practice, cut and laceration are often used interchangeably. When a wound involves the separation of tissue from the body, it is classified as an avulsion. While minor cuts and lacerations may not bleed, any severity of wound of this type can bleed.

What Symptoms Indicate A Cut Or Laceration?

Cuts and lacerations are typically very easy to diagnose, provided that they are not obscured by blood. As mentioned above, cuts are wounds where the skin was cleanly separated, while lacerations are a jagged separation of the same. Severe cuts and lacerations may result in the exposure of muscle, fat, tendon, or even bone. Loss of blood can result in hemorrhagic shock where the patient falls unconscious, though some people will faint seeing blood, even that of others. 

An open cut in a patients ankle

When Should I See A Physician To Care For This Type of Wound?

The first thing you should do when a wound of this type occurs is to contact your physician to see if it might be necessary for you to have a tetanus booster. If you haven’t received immunization against tetanus in the last ten years, it’s critical that you do at this time, though even five years may be too long for particularly severe wounds. If you can’t stop the bleeding, the edges of the wounds are separated, you cannot adequately clean the wound, or more serious damage may have occurred, you should immediately get to a medical center. In cases where the laceration was caused by an animal bite, you’ll want to get the rabies shot if you aren’t aware of the animal’s health.

What Will My Physician Do If I Head to the Clinic?

When you arrive at the clinic or urgent care center, you’ll be examined to determine the severity of the wound. You will be asked for details about the wound, including when, how, and where the injury took place. Numbness and weakness will be checked to see if there is any underlying neurological damage, and you’ll be asked about pre-existing medical conditions. Following these steps, the wound itself will be examined to determine what steps will be needed to treat the wound, including an x-ray if a bone break is suspected.

If you’ve experienced a cut or laceration and are looking for guidance on what you should do, call us for an appointment immediately. If you feel the wound needs immediate treatment, but a trip to the emergency room isn’t necessary, you can stop in and our urgent care center for treatment.

Living with chronic illnesses can be challenging. It helps to have a team of experts on your side who understand the difficulties associated with these conditions and how to provide support for those experiencing them. The team at MD First Primary & Urgent Care helps patients suffering from chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, lupus, and diabetes, among others, live a complete and full life through their care. We’re proud to provide support in the form of counseling, treatments, and therapies, along with suggestions for lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life.

What Is Acute Care?

Acute is commonly perceived to mean “severe,” but actually means that an illness or condition requires immediate care of a resolvable issue related to illness. The most important part of this concept is ‘resolvable,’ the purpose of acute care is to provide treatment for a condition that can go away. Broken bones may take time to heal, but they need immediate care and will eventually be fully recovered. The pain present at the time the break occurs, being both sudden and sharp, is known as acute pain and requires immediate relief. This term can also be applied to diseases as well, specifically those that can be treated and cured. A cold is an acute disease, whereas a condition that can be expected to return or flare-up, such as herpes, is chronic in nature.

Woman experiencing chronic migraine

What Is A Chronic Illness?

Put simply; chronic illnesses are the exact opposite of acute illnesses or conditions. These conditions are long-lasting and are usually expected to be with the patient for a lifetime. This last point isn’t always true, sometimes the cause of a chronic condition can be found and eliminated, but it usually isn’t immediately clear. Recurring migraines, arthritis, diabetes, and asthma are all examples of a chronic illness. Pain is another condition that can be referred to as chronic, especially when the cause of it cannot be located or at least isn’t possible to eliminate. In many cases, chronic pain can be eased or treated, but typically it can’t be cured. Back pain is a common example of a chronic condition and is thought to affect at least 80% of adults.

What Causes Chronic Illnesses and Conditions?

The cause of these conditions varies as much as the conditions themselves. Chronic illnesses sometimes don’t have a discernible cause. This doesn’t mean that a cause doesn’t exist; it simply means that medical science hasn’t been able to identify it yet. Further, treatment may be available for a condition without knowing its underlying cause. Other forms of chronic conditions, such as back pain, may have an identifiable source that cannot be cured. Surgeries, injuries, and other traumatic events can be the cause of ongoing chronic pain. While it’s normal for chronic conditions to develop slowly over time, there are times when they can have a sudden onset, such as the aforementioned injury.

If you’re suffering from a chronic illness or condition and want to know if the staff at MD First Primary & Urgent Care can help you, give our office a call at 1-803-283-2300 for an appointment. You can also drop in at our urgent care during our office hours to see one of our medical specialists at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC. There’s hope of relief for patients with chronic conditions and illnesses, come in and let us help!

Back-To-School Physicals are an essential part of your child’s scholastic experience. MD First Primary & Urgent Care is proud to serve the Lancaster, SC community get their kids checked and ready for school each year. Whether it’s your child’s first year at school or their Senior Year, it’s a necessary part of the back-to-school experience.

Routine Physicals

Your child’s back-to-school experience check-up starts with a standard examination. Your child’s vitals will be checked, including the throat, mouth, ears, nose, eyes, abdomen, lungs, skin, and heart. Hernia and scoliosis will also be checked for as appropriate for the child’s age. Gross-motor development, fine-motor development, and reflexes are checked as well to make sure your child is developing properly, and no health concerns exist. 

What’s Included In A Back-To-School Exam?

Once the initial assessment is done, there are few other steps that are taken to complete the back-to-school physical. The additional steps include:

Child receiving care from a physician

Sports Physicals

Millions of kids across the country take part in school sports every year, and sports physicals are an essential part of making sure they’re safe and ready to play. It surprises most parents to learn that the most common injuries in school sports occur during practice, rather than happening at the games. Of all school sports, soccer, basketball, and football are those most commonly associated with injuries.

Sports physicals aren’t just for children and teenagers. All athletic leagues and schools require sports physicals for their participants. They are the first line of defense against issues occurring in an athlete’s body that could result in injury or prevent safe participating in the sport. During the physical, the doctor will determine the athlete’s condition and indicate areas that are most likely to experience injury or need strengthening.

What Happens During a Sports Physical?

During the physical, that doctor will check the athlete for flexibility, joints, and basic vitals, including vision. They will also be assessed to determine any relevant physical limitations. A vaccination record is not an important part of a sports physical, though it may be required before they can participate in sports activities depending on the state.

If you have any further questions about our services or details about the physicals and exams offered, give our offices a call at 1-803-283-2300. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and schedule an appointment for your child’s next physical at our office at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC.

When you’re experiencing issues with your lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or any other condition that makes it difficult to breathe, your physician may order a Spirometry test. These tests are used to determine how well your lungs function by determining the amount you inhale and exhale and how quickly. They are also ordered to determine if a given treatment is improving a chronic lung condition or making it easier for you to breathe well.

Why Are Spirometry Tests Performed?

These tests can be requested by your physician if they are trying to determine if you are suffering from a variety of lung-related conditions or illnesses. These include the COPD and Asthma already mentioned, as well as emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis. Patients already diagnosed with a chronic disorder of the lungs may have this test performed to determine how well their treatment is working. If you have been scheduled to undergo an operation, you may also undergo spirometry to determine if your lungs are up to the tasks. In some cases, these tests are used to determine if you are suffering from a lung disorder that is occupationally related.

Spirometry Device

Are There Any Risks To Doing a Spirometry Test?

This test is generally considered to be safe, with dizziness or shortness of breath being the most common risks involved. Patients who’ve recently had a cardiac event or have another heart condition that contraindicates stress on the heart may not have this test administered. In very rare cases, severe breathing problems may result from undergoing this test.

How Do I Prepare For Spirometry?

Preparing for spirometry is fairly simple in most cases, with few steps needed to be ready for the test. The most common preparation steps include cessation of using medications before the test that affects breathing, such as inhaled medications. You should also wear loose clothing that will permit you to take a deep breath, and only eat a light meal to make deep breathing easier.

What Should I Expect During A Spirometry Test?

This test is performed by having you breathe into a tube that sends your breath into a machine known as a spirometer. You will be given thorough instructions on this step, so it’s essential that you listen closely and ask questions if you’re unsure of the steps involved. Accurately performing the test provides the best chance of meaningful results. Other elements of the test include:

Inhaled medication may be provided by your physician to open your lungs after the first round of tests. Fifteen minutes later, you’ll need to do the test again to compare the results and see if the medicine helped.

If you’re experiencing breathing problems or wonder if you are living life with a chronic lung condition, call our offices at 1-803-283-2300 today. Or you can also visit our clinic at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, during office hours to speak to one of our medical specialists.