It can be frustrating to call your physician’s office only to hear it will be several weeks until you can see the doctor, especially during cold and flu season. This scenario is popping up more frequently in today’s primary care setting. The aging patient population, rise in chronic diseases, more newly-insured individuals seeking primary care, all coupled with the shortage of physicians, leaves a gap in the healthcare market place.
The good news is you can often make same-day appointments with a board certified family nurse practitioner or physician assistant, depending on staffing at your primary care physician’s office. No, they’re not your physician, but you might be surprised what you don’t know about their role in your health. Read the rest of this entry »
The flu vaccine can be an emotionally charged topic. While medical experts say it’s the single best way to prevent the flu, others question its effectiveness and worry about potential side effects.
So what’s the bottom line?
Influenza kills thousands of people each season—140 children just last year—according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s invisible, highly contagious and often is widespread during the winter months. Yes, the vaccine missed the mark last year after the predicted strains mutated. However, getting vaccinated is still the most effective way to keep your family safe, according to trusted medical experts. Read the rest of this entry »
Mary Williams, 52, was perpetually tired, even though she thought she was getting a good night’s rest.
“Apparently I was snoring, although I didn’t believe I was,” Mary said. “I had no idea of the quality or lack of quality of sleep, because I never woke up gasping for air. I was sure it was a thyroid issue.”
She never suspected sleep apnea, but her daily routine suggested otherwise: Read the rest of this entry »
Smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex. To parents of teenagers, they’re like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. We worry about any of these temptations causing challenges in the lives of our kids.
Children are experimenting with these temptations sooner than ever, typically in their early teen years as they enter junior high, said Nicole Florence, MD, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill, part of Memorial Health System. Read the rest of this entry »
Bad news first. There is still no safe sun exposure. Nada. Not ever. Don’t do it. And if your kids are going to be out in the pool, on the playing field or just hanging outdoors, they need to be protected by high SPF products.
Cara Vasconcelles, MD, with Memorial Physician Services – Koke Mill, recommends aerosol sprays for children over three – if application is done by an adult and the spray is SPF 50 or more. She cautions to apply in an area without wind or dust to ensure an effective coating of protection. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes a good friend can also be good medicine – which is certainly the case for dogs and other animals who are used for animal-assisted therapy. Pet therapy (as it is more widely known) helps children, elderly people and anyone who needs the calm, accepting presence of an animal to deal with health-related issues and situations.
How pet therapy works
Animals can provide several types of therapeutic services. From helping people cope with physical or mental illness, to being a companion or comfort to people, interaction with animals can improve the health and well-being of human beings.
Patients receive care in a variety of environments, some of which – like the hospital – can be more intimidating than others.
“Pet therapy can provide a distraction from the hospital environment. This can contribute to higher pain tolerance and better compliance with treatment,” said Fareed Tabatabai, MD, a psychiatrist with Memorial Physician Services – Vine Street. Read the rest of this entry »
With the recent outbreak of measles across the United States, there has been a wealth of information published about the measles…and unfortunately some misinformation. Read on to learn what everyone should know about the measles.
Is measles really that big of a deal?
Yes. It spreads very fast and easily. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considers it the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses.
The people most vulnerable to measles are those younger than 5 and older than 20.
“Measles can be spread through the air by coughing and sneezing with symptoms of fever, runny nose, coughing and a rash,” said Gustavo Mosquera, MD, a Memorial Physician Services physician in Chatham. “Complications from the infection can be ear infection, hearing loss and pneumonia, which is the main cause of death in young children. It is important to understand that everybody needs to be vaccinated to prevent these complications.” Read the rest of this entry »
When “measuring” our health, we often think of numbers – such as our weight, body mass index and blood pressure. While these numbers offer important information about our physical state, you can also learn a lot about your health by paying attention to what your hair and nails are telling you. Read the rest of this entry »
Of all the hallmarks of prenatal appointments – the weigh-ins, urine tests and blood draws – the glucose screening is among the least popular with expectant moms.
Draining a cup of the super-sweet drink is a requirement at the 4- to 5-month mark to help obstetricians determine if the patient is at risk for gestational diabetes. A positive glucose screening can lead to a three-hour glucose tolerance test, which involves returning at a later date, fasting ahead of the appointment and drinking even more of the sugary sweet liquids.
While the screening and test may be a hassle, the condition they are designed to detect is a potentially harmful one. Gestational diabetes affects between 2 percent and 10 percent of expectant mothers and indicates an elevated (and abnormal) level of sugar in the blood. Read the rest of this entry »
After coloring on the floor with her 2-year-old niece last September, Shirley Black knew it was finally time to get serious about knee-replacement surgery.
She couldn’t get up without help.
Shirley, who lives just outside of Springfield and has been married to her husband, Robert, for nearly 30 years, knew surgery wasn’t an option until she lost weight. She had tried everything, but nothing seemed to work.
A few weeks later, she scheduled an appointment with her new primary care physician, Nicole Florence, MD, with Memorial Physician Services – Koke Mill.
“I told her I needed to come up with a plan,” Shirley recalls. Read the rest of this entry »