COVID Testing in Los Angeles: What to Expect

 

While California’s vaccination effort has been going remarkably well, it’s still too soon to assume that any COVID precautions you’ve been taking are no longer a necessity. COVID testing in Los Angeles is still recommended as an essential tool in curbing the spread of the virus and keeping county residents safe, especially when you have some upcoming travel planned.

It’s crucial to keep up with relevant COVID testing information, including the different types of COVID tests out there, when to get a COVID test, and where you should go for your screening in Los Angeles County if you do need to travel.

Covid-19 nasal swab test

Types of COVID Tests

There are two main types of COVID screenings, those that detect an active COVID infection and those that look for antibodies from a previous COVID infection.

To obtain a COVID antibody test in Los Angeles, the most straightforward route would be to contact your healthcare provider to see whether they offer the tests. They may also be able to recommend a lab that conducts antibody tests if they do not provide them on site.

Diagnostic tests use a nasal swab to determine whether someone is currently positive or negative for COVID. Reliant offers three different kinds of diagnostic tests at conveniently located Los Angeles COVID testing sites:

  • COVID-19 Antigen FIA: This is a rapid COVID test with results available within an hour. Antigen tests like this one are useful when there is a high probability of COVID infection, as their accuracy rates for positive cases are quite high. The speed of the test makes them an important tool in continued testing for COVID, particularly among those already showing symptoms.
  • COVID-19 Abbott PCR: This is another rapid COVID test with results available within an hour. While methods used to detect an active COVID infection are similar to the test described below, rapid tests of any kind are not always accepted for flight clearance. Travelers should check with their airline to determine which test they should take to be allowed to board that flight.
  • COVID-19 RT-PCR: This PCR test for COVID offers results between 24-36 hours and is generally accepted as the test of choice for travelers seeking flight clearance. Samples taken for these tests are scanned for genetic material of COVID using a complex process called reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Covid-19 Test Results

When to Get a COVID Test

As the world begins to open up, whether you still need to worry about getting a COVID test may be at the top of your COVID testing FAQs, especially if you’ve been vaccinated. The United States, despite significant gains over the last few months, still has work to do to reach herd immunity and transmission rates remain high around the world.

So when should you get a COVID test?

COVID testing in Los Angeles and elsewhere is recommended if you have been exposed to someone with a known COVID infection, if it’s been suggested by your healthcare provider or if you are experiencing any indication of the virus including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flu-like symptoms

 

There are several other scenarios where the CDC recommends a COVID test to avoid the risk of spreading infection. Those participating in activities where it’s difficult or impossible to socially distance, including travel, should also consider whether they need a COVID test.

Those recommendations apply even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Covid-19 nasal swab test in a car

COVID Testing & Travel

The CDC is now recommending that any travel, even domestically, is delayed until you are fully vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated but find that they must travel are not barred from doing so, but there are ways to be safer.

Wear a mask when in the airport and on the airplane, a regulation enforced by all of the major airlines, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Masks may be taken off temporarily while you’re actively eating or drinking, but should be put back on as soon as you’re done. If you’re experiencing any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has displayed symptoms, no matter your vaccination or testing status, delay all travel.

As destinations around the world start to open up for travel, those going abroad are still under existing regulations for testing upon their return to the United States. At this time, anyone traveling into the United States, whether they are a U.S. citizen or not, must show proof of a negative COVID test no more than three days before their return. That test should be available to show the airline before boarding. The only exception would be those who can prove a recent recovery from COVID-19 within the last three months. Proof should come from your healthcare provider or a public health official.

Many countries (and Hawaii) are also requiring negative test results on the way to your destination. Entry requirements vary by destination. Some countries are allowing vaccinated passengers without restrictions; some still require a negative COVID test upon arrival. Reliant’s conveniently located clinics throughout LA and at LAX offer the COVID-19 test required by many airlines for travel with a one-hour turnaround time.

However, if a negative COVID test is required for travel by your airline, be sure to check whether the airline you’re traveling with accepts rapid tests. If they don’t, you may need to plan ahead and book a screening for the COVID-19 RT-PCR test instead. That test has been approved for flight clearance, with results coming in 24-36 hours following your screening.

Vaccination passport

COVID Testing Los Angeles: Where to Go

COVID-19 testing is currently available throughout Los Angeles County, including at walk-up and drive-through locations. COVID tests available at Reliant detect the five different variants of the virus circulating throughout the United States, as well, so you can rest assured that your COVID-19 screening at Reliant is a thorough one.

Reliant also offers a rapid test screening location at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), an important tool for travelers seeking a negative test before boarding their flights.

We also have four other conveniently located clinics throughout LA. For a full list of all of our COVID-19 testing sites, see below.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Los Angeles

As with the rest of the United States, vaccinations in Los Angeles are currently open to anyone 16 years of age and older. Vaccination rates vary based on race, gender, and age. Still, about 70 percent of Los Angeles County residents 65 and older have received at least one dose, which is positive news for a vulnerable population. About 37 percent of residents 16 and over have received at least one dose.

To make a vaccine appointment in the Los Angeles area, start with LA county’s department of public health. The site will link you to additional providers offering the COVID vaccine, including the ability to search by vaccine type. This is important for teens looking to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available to 16- and 17-year-olds; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for those 18 years of age and up.

Following your vaccination, whether you’re getting one dose or two, COVID safety precautions are still necessary. That means wearing a mask when you’re unable to keep a physical distance of more than 6 feet and maintaining a physical distance from those outside your household whenever possible.

No matter your vaccination status, if you present with COVID symptoms following a possible interaction with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, you should seek out COVID testing in Los Angeles.

Covid-19 vaccination site in LA

Staying Safe & Healthy

The health experts at Reliant are available to answer any questions you may have about COVID-19 or obtaining a rapid COVID test. If you want to talk through your COVID-19 symptoms with a healthcare professional, book an appointment online. Our telemed staff will offer advice on your next steps without having to walk into a doctor’s office with symptoms.

Spring Allergies in Los Angeles: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

 

Spring has sprung, with many outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the blooms and flowering trees that mark the season. For allergy sufferers, though, spring allergies can mean weeks of sniffling and sneezing and what can feel like no relief in sight.

Whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are expected, or you’re worried your symptoms could be something else, it’s important to have a broad understanding of the causes and symptoms of spring allergies and when to see a healthcare provider.

Causes of Spring Allergies

Spring (and early summer) allergies can have several triggers. The most common is pollen, as grasses, flowers, and trees bloom and enter our breathing space. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the result, causing millions to sneeze and sniffle through those early spring months, often for weeks at a time.

Woman sneezing from seasonal allergies

Spring Allergy Symptoms

There are some similarities between spring allergy symptoms vs. other common conditions like a cold. Both will likely present with a stuffy, runny nose and frequent sneezing. Coughing, a sore throat, and fatigue are additional frequent symptoms with the common cold but less prevalent with seasonal allergies.

Most allergy sufferers also report the following effects from spring allergies:

  • Symptoms are seasonal, presenting around the same time each year.
  • Itchy, watery eyes can result in redness and swelling with too much rubbing.
  • Symptoms worsen with exposure to identified irritants or allergens.

Woman with spring allergies laying down at home

As we are still actively testing individuals for COVID-19, it’s also important that patients understand the difference between COVID and allergies, as well.

The main difference between COVID and allergies is that any symptoms will generally be more severe with COVID than those experienced by allergy season sufferers. COVID-19 patients report fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and nausea that are not connected to spring allergies. Some patients with COVID experience a loss of taste or smell, a symptom not typically reported with allergies.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing acute flu-like symptoms or shortness of breath, contact a medical professional immediately. Even if symptoms are not severe, you should be tested to prevent possible transmission to others if you are positive.

How Long Do Seasonal Allergies Last?

If spring allergies are the culprit behind your allergy symptoms, most patients report some easing of symptoms within 2-3 weeks. However, those with multiple allergies may experience symptoms as long as allergens are present in the air. Pollen can still be a problem in the summer months due to an increase in molds and dust mites that can affect many with allergies.

Mask filled with flowers

Prevention Tips for Spring Allergies

To prevent the worst effects of seasonal allergies, there are a few things you can do to:

  • Reduce your exposure to allergens. If you’ve been dealing with allergies for a while, you likely know the blooming plants that will cause you the most distress. Stay inside on days you know will be bad for your allergies, like dry, windy days that can blow more pollen through the air.
  • Wear a pollen mask to prevent inhalation of the bulk of allergens if you have to be outside for an extended period. Your gardening project may need to be postponed on days where pollen levels are highest, though, even if you wear a mask.
  • That said, pay attention to pollen counts. There are online tools available that measure pollen counts and allergy outlooks by region. Typically, pollen counts are the worst early in the morning.
  • Use air filters and dehumidifiers in your home to reduce allergens inside. If you find that you suffer from frequent symptoms in the house, use HEPA filters with your vacuum when you clean.

Person using an app to track pollen counts

How to Treat Seasonal Allergies

If you’re already suffering from the symptoms of seasonal allergies, several tested methods will relieve those symptoms and make you feel a bit better. Talking to a medical professional like the urgent care providers at Reliant is a great step in identifying how to treat seasonal allergies, which treatment plan will suit you best, and any potential side effects associated with even over-the-counter medications.

Treatments for spring allergies include the following:

  • Find an over-the-counter medication that works for you. Antihistamines and decongestants have been proven effective in reducing the amount of congestion you’re experiencing with your spring allergies. Eye drops may also be effective for itchy, watery eyes.
  • Treat your sinuses. Nasal sprays and neti pots are also used to treat congestion. Nasal rinses using saline solutions may be beneficial in clearing out allergens breathed in through the nose.
  • Combine treatments. Some popular allergy medications combine antihistamines and decongestants into one treatment, hitting the effects of both the sneezing, sniffling, itching, and stuffiness you’re likely feeling in your nose.
  • Talk to a medical provider. Sometimes over-the-counter treatments just aren’t enough. A healthcare provider will be able to provide additional recommendations to ease your symptoms, such as prescription medications, allergy shots, and steroid nasal sprays, or even identify allergens causing your seasonal allergy symptoms.

Allergy medications

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?

Whether you’re new to the world of spring allergies or have been dealing with seasonal symptoms for years, the experts at Reliant are here to handle your care. Schedule a virtual allergy appointment in Los Angeles, and we’ll connect you with a medical provider to get you on the right path toward relief and answer any questions you may have about spring allergies.

Book your appointment today for convenient treatment and medical attention that will help you start feeling better fast.

Different Types of Headaches & When to Seek Care

 

Headaches happen for a variety of reasons, with symptoms ranging from a slight irritation to severe pain. There are four different types of headaches that occur most often, and treatment for each can vary.

It’s important then to know about the kinds of headaches out there so that you can get yourself feeling better as quickly as possible, and even taking steps to prevent those headaches from reoccurring. Deciding when to go to urgent care and seek medical attention for a headache is also important information to have, particularly with headaches happening frequently or with increasing intensity. If you have any unusual symptoms coupled with your headache, you may want to visit your primary care provider or a walk-in clinic, like Reliant, to ensure that you receive proper medical care.

4 Different Types of Headaches

There are over 150 different types of headaches that may be causing you pain, but there are four that are the most common: migraine, tension, sinus, and cluster headaches.

You may also hear your health professional talk about primary headaches. According to the American Headache Society, a primary headache is a general term for a headache that is not caused by a separate condition, and the headache is the main problem for a patient. A secondary headache, however, is caused by a separate condition. For example, among the four common headaches described below, sinus headaches are considered secondary headaches. They are usually caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection.

Headaches can also be caused or exacerbated by environmental factors that come with living in Los Angeles including:

  • Smog, exhaust, and poor air quality
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Noise pollution and light pollution (migraine sufferers might experience this acutely)

Migraine Headaches

Over 30 million Americans suffer from migraine attacks, one of the most common severe headaches. Migraines can cause throbbing, light and sound sensitivity, and even nausea and vomiting over the course of hours and up to several days.

The exact cause of migraines is difficult to pinpoint, but as they are more common in women, researchers believe that hormonal changes may be a trigger. Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, changes in weather, medications, and stress can also cause the onset of a migraine. It is important then to understand your body’s triggers if you suffer from migraines.

Treatments for migraine headaches include over-the-counter pain relievers or various prescription medications to treat the symptoms of migraines, prevent migraines in the future, or to help reduce how often you experience migraine headaches. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe a medication to ease nausea symptoms if that is common with your migraines.

Woman getting a migraine headache a work

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common among the different types of headaches. They can cause pain on both sides of your head, or even in the back of the head and neck. This type of headache is most often linked back to stress or anxiety, but can also be caused by head injuries.

For tension headache relief, over-the-counter pain relievers are usually enough to treat this type of headache. Those with frequent tension headaches may benefit from additional lifestyle changes to address environmental triggers. A healthcare provider can also help you come up with a treatment plan for frequent tension headaches.

Woman getting a tension headache

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches can be sudden and severe, occurring on one side of your head. They’re known as cluster headaches as they come in groups over a certain period of time. Sometimes that can mean multiple headaches throughout the day, lasting anywhere from minutes to hours. Watery and irritated eyes and congestion are typical on the side of the face that is affected.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pinpoint triggers for cluster headaches. Doctors have found that symptoms worsen with alcohol once a series of cluster headaches has begun.

If you’re looking for how to treat a bad headache like a cluster headache, patients have found some relief with deep breathing exercises and over-the-counter melatonin supplements. Those with severe, recurring cluster headaches may also consider speaking to their healthcare provider about access to oxygen, a common treatment for this type of headache, or injectable treatments that may only be done in a doctor’s office.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can be mistaken for primary headaches, but if the pressure you’re feeling is accompanied by other symptoms, including stuffiness, fever, and any swelling in your face, a sinus headache is likely to blame. This is a secondary headache, are caused by inflammation and a buildup of pressure in your sinuses, most commonly due to allergies or infections.

For sinus headache relief, you’ll need to treat the underlying condition, first. If you have a sinus infection, that may mean antibiotics. Reliant urgent care locations in LA can help you treat sinus infections quickly and efficiently.

If you find that your sinuses are bothered by seasonal allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants may offer you enough relief until the symptoms pass. With frequent sinus headaches, a healthcare provider can help you identify the causes and come up with an appropriate treatment plan.

Woman getting a sinus headache

When to Seek Care

It’s important to pay attention to the frequency and severity of your headaches to determine when you should seek care. If you’re someone who does not often suffer from headaches and find yourself experiencing debilitating pain, or are vomiting, losing consciousness, or find that your vision has been affected, visit urgent care for your headache immediately. Headaches that last more than 72 hours with less than four hours of relief in that time are also cause for immediate concern.

You shouldn’t ignore headaches that are less than debilitating, however. If you find that your headaches are becoming more frequent or more severe, an urgent care center like Reliant can help you find some relief. If daily activities are becoming difficult due to problems with headaches, a healthcare provider can help.

Looking for migraine urgent care or headache urgent care? The health professionals at Reliant are standing by to answer questions about any headache symptoms you may have. Meet with a doctor virtually and potentially skip long waiting times and an in-person visit to the doctor’s office. Book an appointment online today and return to your regular day-to-day activities, headache-free.

A Guide on Urgent Care

What Is Urgent Care?

An alternative to an emergency room, urgent care is a walk-in clinic that assists with some medical needs. Whether it is an illness or an injury that you are suffering from, the medical staff on-site can treat any general concern you may have and be experiencing.

When To Go To Urgent Care

Many patients who visit the urgent care facilities either do not have a primary physician or cannot see them when they are sick due to booked appointments. If you have a medical emergency or experiencing chronic pain for several days, it may be time to visit the urgent care office for assistance.

What Time Does Urgent Care Open?urgent care exterior

Depending on the Urgent Care location and the day of the week, Urgent Care can open as early as 7 am in some locations. This is to assist those who need to see a physician before they head to work or need one of the offered services early in the morning.

What Time Does Urgent Care Close?

Urgent Care facilities are often open as late as 8 am, depending on the urgent care location during the week. On the weekends, those facilities that are open will close around 5 pm.

Can You Go to Urgent Care Without Insurance?

If you do not have health insurance, you can still be seen at an Urgent Care facility. You would identify yourself as a self-pay patient and either pay your services in full the day of treatment or speak with a representative about a payment plan if you experienced many services in the same visit.

How Much Does Urgent Care Cost?

Urgent care costs compare with standard doctor visit costs. A standard office visit is a flat-rate of $195 per patient. Not all bills are the same, as they vary based upon the services you require when you visit the Urgent Care facility.

Does Urgent Care Bill You Later?

If you pay with your health insurance card, you could bill the balance of the visit later, depending on additional services you needed, such as tests, lab work, and other services. Also, you can be billed later if you need to establish a payment plan as a self-pay patient.

Does Urgent Care Take Medicaid?

Medicaid is acceptable insurance for Urgent Care. Whether it is your only health insurance or supplemented with another policy, you can use it to cover your services’ costs. In some instances, you may have to cover those services that Medicaid does not cover.

Does Urgent Care Take Medicare?

Medicare insurance is also accepted at all Urgent Care locations. It can be used as the primary insurance, with the patient paying the remaining balance not covered or supplemented with another insurance policy that a patient may carry. When checking into Urgent Care, a staff member will request a copy of your Medicare Card.

Does Urgent Care Do X-Rays?urgent care doctor looking at x-rays

If your condition requires an X-ray, it can be ordered and done in the Urgent Care office by one of the technicians. Results are available immediately and help the medical staff make an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

Does Urgent Care Do Stitches?

If you or a loved one has had an accident where stitches are required, the Urgent Care facility is the best place for this service. The medical staff has the supplies on hand to quickly assess the damage and begin stitching the cut area. In most cases, patients can visit an Urgent Care, get the stitches and leave quicker than they would have if they went to the emergency room at their local hospital.

Does Urgent Care Do STD Testing?

If you believe you may have contracted an STD, Urgent Care has a test available. You can make an appointment or walk-in and request the test. Based on your test results, you will also receive treatment for these STDs before leaving the facility.

Can You Go To Urgent Care For Physicals, UTIs, Ultrasounds, or Blood work?

Routine physicals for employers or schools are in high demand. Trying to schedule an appointment with your regular physician for one of these exams can take too long. All types of physicals are available at Urgent Care.

If you need to have routine blood work done but need to go around your schedule, Urgent Care is a great option for patients. You can have your blood work done when it is convenient for you. This is also true for ultrasounds that your regular doctor may require, but you cannot make an appointment. Coming in to have these services done around your schedule is the best reason to visit Urgent Care.

One of the most conditions that Urgent Care facilities treat is urinary tract infection (UTI). This condition can happen to anyone and can be painful when not treated. Finding an Urgent Care facility for this infection will get you the medication you need in record time.

When To Go To Urgent Care vs. ER

The emergency room is designed to assist patients who are in a life or death situation. If you need medical attention, but it is not an emergency, you should visit urgent care. The wait times and level of care exceed most emergency rooms, getting you or your loved one the medical attention you need in a decent time.  The Urgent Care facilities offer the same level of care and medical professionals as an emergency room.

Also, the crowding in an ER is much more than in an Urgent Care facility. In most cases, these patients head back to a room and are seen much quicker than those waiting at the ER.

Is Urgent Care Open on Sundays

Many of the Urgent Care locations offer weekend hours, which include Sundays. In many cases, they are open from 9 am to 5 pm, allowing patients who may not be feeling well to access quality medical care throughout the day.

Do You Need To Book An Appointment?

If you require Reliant Urgent Care services, book your appointment online today or visit one of our locations. We look forward to seeing you soon.