Finding a primary care clinician who you like and trust, and building a partnership with him or her over time is one of the best things you can do for your health. My goal as a connection specialist is to be the first step in navigating that process, taking the stress and anxiety out of finding a new primary care clinician, and talking through the process and answering any questions you may have so we can get you on the road to good health.
Research shows that people who have an ongoing relationship with a primary care clinician have better overall health outcomes and save money in the long run by doing yearly preventative visits. As you begin looking for a primary care clinician, consider the following:
- Are the office hours or location convenient?
Some patients want to have a clinician closer to their workplace versus their home, and Affinity Health System has several convenient locations to meet your health care needs. We offer same-day appointments, extended hours during the week and also weekend hours at some of our locations.
- What do you want in a clinician?
I often get asked how long a particular clinician has been practicing, or what their specialty is. If you have specific needs, like treating high cholesterol, or are interested in treatments such as integrative medicine or acupuncture, keep those in mind while you search.
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Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you’re a first time mom-to-be, you’ll likely be filled of both questions and excitement. After you’ve celebrated your good news, your next to-do item is a trip to your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) or Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). It’s a good idea to meet with your provider regularly throughout your pregnancy, and it’s best if your first appointment takes place soon after you suspect you’re pregnant or take an at-home pregnancy test.
At your first appointment, your health care provider will confirm your pregnancy and then do an examination, much like your typical physical, to assess your general health. Your weight and blood pressure will be recorded, and your provider will check your heart, lungs, belly and breasts. You’ll also receive a pelvic exam, which includes a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and vaginal cultures to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Your provider will then manually determine the size of your uterus and pelvis while simultaneously checking for any abnormalities of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Everyday factors that could affect your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or infections, should be identified right away and addressed immediately.
At your first visit, they will also go over your health history and your family’s medical history to determine if there are any risk factors that could affect your pregnancy. These risk factors could include your age, any existing or previous health conditions you may have and any genetic illnesses that may be present in your family. Your provider will also ask about any previous surgeries or exposure to contagious diseases, and they will ask about any medications—prescription or over-the-counter—that you take or have taken in the past. Continue Reading »
When parents bring their children to the doctors’, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What medication can we give our children at home?” Children can generally be given over the counter (OTC) medication to safely reduce pain, fever and inflammation. Among the many medications that are available over the counter, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are usually the ones parents try before bringing their children to the doctor’s office. It is very important for parents to know the difference between these two medications.
(Brand name: Tylenol, APAP, MAPAP, Little fevers, etc.)
- This medication inhibits synthesis of prostaglandins in the central nervous system, which reduces the effects of pain. It also acts as a fever reducer by targeting the hypothalamic heat-regulating center. This action helps disperse heat. When taken orally, people usually feel relief in less than one hour and it lasts four to six hours. This medication is primarily absorbed in the small intestine and is eliminated in urine.
- Acetaminophen can be taken with or without food. It should be taken with food if an upset stomach occurs. Children can use it as suppository rectally. In general, acetaminophen can be given to infants younger than 6 months. Continue Reading »
Winter time is upon us and many new parents have questions about how to care for their baby during this season. Hopefully I can help answer a lot of the common questions:
- How do I dress my baby for winter?
If going outside, I suggest layering clothing instead of dressing in bulky clothes for warmth. Make sure to have footwear, mittens (socks can be used as mittens if needed) and a hat. Do not use a bulky snowsuit in a car seat. Snowsuits are fine for spending time outdoors, but are unsafe for use in car seats. The thickness of snowsuits does not allow the straps of a car seat to be tight enough. Your baby may slip loose or fall out of the car seat if there is an accident. Instead use a blanket to go over the baby or a car seat cover to block the cold wind.
If you’re planning on staying indoors, I suggest having your baby wear one more layer than you are currently wearing inside. When your baby sleeps, don’t have extra blankets, pillows or bedding in the crib. If you need to have a blanket, there are specialty baby swaddlers or sleep sacks that a baby can sleep in. Be careful not to over-bundle your baby. Eliminating loose bedding and avoiding overheating your baby will decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Can my baby get frostbite or hypothermia?
Yes, a baby can get frostbite with prolonged cold exposure. Make sure to give your baby a break from the cold. If you are uncomfortable or cold, they are uncomfortable and cold as well. Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen, most commonly in fingers, toes, ears and nose. Keep an eye on your baby’s skin, it may look pale, gray, and blistered. Prevention is best, but if you suspect frostbite put frostbitten parts in warm (not hot) water. Do NOT rub frozen areas. Dr. Budiasih has a very informative blog on hypothermia. Hypothermia may occur when your baby’s body temperature falls below normal. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults. Your baby may become lethargic. Look for fatigue or unusual behavior. Get medical attention as soon as possible for either hypothermia or frostbite. Continue Reading »