Article originally published Summer 2017 in The Monitor magazine.
As an airline pilot, Scott Richardson’s vision is crucial to his job. So when he noticed a sudden redness above his eyes that wasn’t improving after several days, he became worried.
A quick trip to First Medical Urgent Care in Lancaster proved his instincts were correct. The redness turned out to be shingles, a reactivation of the chicken pox virus in the body that causes a painful rash. The rash was on Scott’s forehead and was in danger of spreading to his eyes, which could have been detrimental to his vision.
“When I went to the Urgent Care, Jen Brown, P.A.-C, and staff were prompt and compassionate – within 48 hours, I was on a fairly aggressive antiviral and steroids,”
Following that initial visit, Scott returned to the Urgent Care two more times to ensure the antiviral was working. The attending physician, Curtis McAnallen, M.D., then took it one step further by referring Scott on to Dr. Deepa Reddy, an ophthalmologist with FHP Ophthalmology.
“The care and the follow-up were great,” Scott said. “When all of this happened, it was Labor Day weekend; yet, the day after Labor Day – that Tuesday – I was able to get in to see Dr. Reddy.”
Dr. McAnallen said a quick diagnosis and treatment for Scott was essential.
“We didn’t want it going into his eye and, in terms of treatment, if you’re on pain meds, you can’t pilot a plane,” Dr. McAnallen said. “So there were a lot of issues at play.”
Scott said his experience has made him a proponent for both the Urgent Care and the shingles vaccine, which is recommended for ages 60 and older (see box).
First Medical Urgent Care is an affiliate of Fairfield Medical Center and provides walk-in medical care for all minor illness and injury, as well as X-rays, lab testing, EKGs, pulmonary function tests, sports physicals, minor wound repair, minor incision drainage and splinting.
The CDC recommends that people 60 years old and older get the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, to prevent shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). The vaccine is recommended regardless of whether you have had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. If you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent further occurrences of the disease. To learn more about the vaccine, talk to your doctor or visit Zostavax.com.