Media Contact: John Winkelman 636-933-5372
The flu has come to Jefferson County and the new Imperial Urgent Care is seeing its share of cases, said Dr. Kurt Jaeger, a physician at the new facility on Main Street at Interstate 55 in Imperial.
“When they come through the door in their pajamas, carrying a tankard of juice, that's a pretty clear sign that they have the flu,” Jaeger joked, when asked the influenza diagnosis. “Fever, aches, chills, cough, sore throat are the common symptoms.”
The other common trait among sufferers is that very few of them received the flu vaccine.
“About 90 percent have not had a flu shot,” Jaeger said. “They almost all say they heard they would get the flu from the shot, but that's not possible. It’s your best protection, and you don’t get the flu from the flu shot.”
When the new Urgent Care Center opened in November it offered free flu shots to everyone who stopped by and gave free vaccinations to 500 people.
“It's not too late to get the flu shot. It has become a near epidemic across the country, and we will see it off and on until April,” Jaeger said.
Other than the vaccination, the next best precaution is good hand hygiene, the doctor said. Sanitizer is better than nothing, but soap and water is the best defense. Reliance on the chemical substitute can have a negative impact.
“The problem with (hand sanitizers) is that many of them contain alcohol and dry out your skin, which can become then a portal for entry,” he said.
The new urgent care has seen much more than the flu in its first two months of business. Many different diagnoses are possible. Dr. Jaeger said strep and flu test results are available in about 10 minutes, and the facility has X-ray capabilities for chest symptoms or injuries to arms and legs.
“We have seen falls on the ice, sledding accidents, volleyball and wrestling injuries,” Jaeger said. “We can put on a temporary cast and then refer them to an orthopedic physician for a permanent cast and treatment. We do sutures or glue minor lacerations like facial injuries. We have breathing treatments for wheezing from infection or an asthma flare-up.”
After school and weekends are the busiest times, but the morning and daytime business is expected to grow as more people learn about the availability.
“We open at 7 a.m. I don't know many other urgent care centers that open that early,” Jaeger said. “People come to us because they can't get into their regular doctor or don't have a family physician.”
Educating them about their health and directing them to area physician practices is part of the role of the urgent care.
“We try to get them into primary care and refer them to someone locally,” Jaeger said. “We treat their acute conditions right now, then try to get them to the right place for on-going care.”
The Imperial location is new, but Jaeger is no rookie, with more than 12 years of experience in urgent care facilities. He completed his undergraduate education and medical school at Saint Louis University, so he is familiar with physicians throughout the region.
“I enjoy it here a lot. I really love urgent care,” Jaeger said. “I know the doctors in the area, and I can recommend physicians that will be a good fit for the patients.”
Imperial Urgent Care is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information call 636-464-4900.