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Mondays with your MD – Soothing a Sore Throat

2022-11-20T23:18:25+00:00November 19th, 2022|Community, Direct Primary Care, Family Medicine, Family Practice, Public Health|

Soothing a Sore Throat…. Be in the Know this Winter.

Pharyngitis, commonly known as a sore throat, is a symptom that signals an infection involving the back of the throat.

Signs of pharyngitis include:

  • Sore, dry, or scratchy throat
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Redness/Inflammation of the throat

What causes Pharyngitis?

The most common cause for sore throat is a virus (such as the common cold, influenza, mononucleosis, yes …even covid). Viral infections don’t respond to antibiotics, and treatment is only necessary to help relieve symptoms.

Less commonly, pharyngitis is caused by a bacterial infection. These infections require antibiotics. The most common bacterial infection is strep throat. It is imperative not to leave strep throat untreated, especially in children.

How is pharyngitis diagnosed?

Physical exam

If you’re experiencing symptoms of pharyngitis, your doctor will check your throat looking for white patches, swelling, and redness and check for swollen lymph nodes in your neck. You should report any fever or cough as well.

Throat culture

If your doctor suspects that you have strep throat, they will likely take a rapid strep test in the office which can give you a result for strep throat in a few minutes. In some cases, a swab culture is sent to a lab for further testing.

Blood tests

If another cause of your pharyngitis is suspected, your doctor may order blood work looking for specific infections, such as mononucleosis or they may perform a COVID or flu test.

What can you do at home?

If a virus is causing your pharyngitis, there are things you can do at home that can help relieve symptoms:

  • drinking plenty of fluids/ pedialyte popsicles
  • gargling with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of water)
  • using a humidifier
  • resting until you feel better
  • throat lozenges can sooth pain

Medical treatment

For pain and fever relief, consider taking over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen after speaking with your doctor.

If the infection is caused by strep or another bacterial infection, antibiotics are necessary. Amoxicillin and penicillin are the most commonly prescribed treatments for strep throat. It is important that you take the entire course of antibiotics for strep throat to prevent complications such as rheumatic fever.

How can you prevent pharyngitis?

  • avoid sharing food, drinks, and eating utensils
  • avoid individuals who are sick
  • wash your hands often, especially before eating and after coughing or sneezing
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • avoid smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke

When to Seek Care

Let your doctor know right away if you are having a sore throat so that they can guide you on the next steps for evaluation of cause and best treatment options.

Looking for a doctor that you can text anytime and is easy to reach quickly? Book a Meet and greet with Dr Diaz today.

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Mondays with your MD – Not another respiratory virus…. It SNOT FUNNY!

2022-11-11T23:38:02+00:00November 11th, 2022|Families, Family Practice, Health Care, Public Health|

Winter is coming….. that means LOTS of colds/flu…. AND its WORSE than ever before ALREADY! This is the first fall with our masks off…. And all these infections are coming back out with a vengeance.

The kids are coming home from school and everyone needs more tests and notes to return to school and work than ever before. As a working parent…. I know your time is valuable… you need the highest quality and fastest care possible.

No one wants to go to an urgent care with a bunch of other sick people and pick up another virus to deal with in the home next week!

Its not a surprise that after the disappearance of COVID mitigation strategies and low population immunity, as kids have flocked back to classrooms and day cares, there is a huge upswing of respiratory viruses circulating. RSV, rhinovirus, flu, Covid… you name it. Children, on the whole, are more susceptible to these microbes then they have been in years.

Most of these viruses have been around forever and many have always posed a risk for infants/toddlers, patients with underlying respiratory diseases and immunocompromised folks. This year, flu, covid, and other commonly known respiratory viruses including RSV are on the rise to the highest levels seen in decades.

Ways to prepare for THIS cold and flu season…

Get your flu shot and COVID boosters NOW if you have not already.

Wash your hands and kids hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer to avoid germs

Avoid areas with other people with cough and cold symptoms

Breastfeed: it transfers immunity to babies to fight infections

Eat healthy with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Stay rested. Getting sleep helps your immune system stay strong

If you want to know the most effective upper respiratory infection treatments and learn how to navigate this winter to minimize the disruptions to your routine …… sign up for our FREE GUIDE to
“Best practices for the common cold, flu, and COVID”

Mondays with your MD – Breast Cancer Screening (Part 2)

2022-10-24T04:36:18+00:00October 21st, 2022|Adults, Family Practice, Health Care, Public Health|

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Part II: Screening

On average, one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Do you know which screening test is best and when to start screening for breast cancer?

There is more than one type of screening test for breast cancer and there are varying recommendations from different organizations. Education with individualized planning (based on your personal risk for breast cancer) can help determine the best screening test for you.

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Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer

A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of your breasts and can find cancer early.

Different experts have varying advice for when to initiate screening and how frequently to screen average-risk women ages 40 to 49. All experts agree that at a minimum screening should occur at least every 2 years between ages of 50-74.

For average-risk women screening mammography can be performed every one to two years based on patient preference.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to screen women who have a high risk of breast cancer

MRI is a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. MRI does not use any x-rays and there is no exposure to radiation.

For women with moderately increased risk factors (based on breast density, reproductive history, and hormonal history), breast ultrasound in conjunction with mammogram or a MRI can be considered on an individual basis.

Use of MRI for supplemental screening in women with dense breast tissue has shown higher rates of detection, but there is no evidence that health outcomes are improved overall.

Women with high risk factors (based on a history of chest radiation, ancestry, genes and genetic conditions) may benefit from more frequent screening with enhanced modalities. Obtaining annual MRI and/or consultation to consider risk reduction treatment and intensification of surveillance are viable options.

It is clear that the type and timing of breast cancer screening is highly personalized. You should discuss your risk factors with your board-certified physician so that you can make an informed decision about breast cancer screening.

This is part TWO of a THREE part series on Breast Cancer Awareness.

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Mondays with your MD – Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

2022-10-17T23:16:13+00:00October 16th, 2022|Adults, Direct Primary Care, Family Medicine, Health Care, Public Health|

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Many of us have been touched by breast cancer- perhaps through a personal diagnosis- or by a family member, friend, or colleague diagnosed with this disease. Breast cancer, after all, is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer death in women. Please join me over the next few Mondays to discuss prevention, screening, and warning signs.

Education is Key for Prevention

Do you know the risk factors associated with an INCREASED risk for breast cancer?

  • Hormonal factors can influence your risk for breast cancer. Higher levels of endogenous estrogen and hormonal combined estrogen/progesterone replacement has been associated with increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Reproductive factors associated with a higher breast cancer risk include earlier onset of menstruation, not giving birth or having first child later in life, and a late menopause.
  • Family history and genetic mutations. The risk of breast cancer is affected by the number of first-degree female relatives diagnosed with breast cancer and the age at which they were diagnosed.
  • The highest breast cancer risk occurs among White women (although it remains he most common cancer among women of every major ethnic/racial group).
  • Alcohol consumption is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • A higher BMI in postmenopausal women is associated with increased risk for breast cancer. 

Do you know how to DECREASE your risk for breast cancer?

  • Breastfeeding. For every 12 months of breastfeeding there is an approximate 4% reduction in the relative risk of breast cancer.
  • Increased physical activity at all ages lowers risk.
  • Dietary factors may modify breast cancer risk although data is limited. Eating a low-fat high fiber diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is recommended.

This is part ONE of a THREE part series on Breast Cancer Awareness. STAY TUNED. Next week we will review breast cancer screening options and recommendations.

 

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Mondays With your MD – New Covid Vaccine: Bivalent Boosters

2022-09-25T19:22:53+00:00September 24th, 2022|Community, Coronavirus, Family Practice, Health Care, Pandemic, Public Health, Vaccine|

The new bivalent booster offers better protection against recently circulating COVID-19 variants and helps restore waning protection from previous vaccination. It offers broader protection for new variants. People must complete the primary series (original monovalent vaccines) before getting a bivalent booster dose.

covid-19-booster

Who should get the new booster?

  • People 12 years and older should receive the updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent booster)
    This includes people who have received all primary series doses and people who have received the original (monovalent) boosters
  • At this time children ages 12-17 years can only receive the updated Pfizer bivalent booster.
  • Children under 12 years do not get a bivalent booster yet.

What is considered “Up to Date” with all these boosters?

Once you have completed the covid-19 vaccine primary series and received he most recent booster dose that is recommended

When should I get the new booster? Which brand should I get?

The new bivalent booster can be given at least 2 months or more after your last COVID vaccine. The monovalent booster should no longer be given to anyone 12 years of age and older.


It is fine to get a booster from a different brand than the primary series or previous boosters. For example, if your primary series was Moderna you can get the Pfizer bivalent booster.

What about kids under 12 years old?

At this time, children under 12 years old will NOT receive the new bivalent booster dose although this is likely to change in the future.

Children 5 years – 11 years who received Pfizer for their primary series should still get a monovalent booster 5 months after the last dose of the primary series.

Children 5 years – 11 years who got Moderna for their primary series do not get a booster at this time.

Children 6 months – 4 years should get all COVID-19 vaccination primary series doses.

At Roots Health DPC we help our patients navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines around
testing, treatment, and prevention. Set up a FREE “Meet and Greet” with Dr Diaz today.

 

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    Mondays with your MD – Covid … Again? What you need to know

    2022-09-12T18:57:23+00:00September 12th, 2022|Community, Coronavirus, Covid-19 Testing, Pandemic, Public Health, Vaccine|

    There seem to be more cases of COVID circulating in our community now… so I thought I would share the most common questions and concerns I hear from patients.

    My family member has COVID. How often do I need to test myself?

    • If you develop symptoms it is recommended to test immediately.
    • If you have symptoms and your rapid test is negative it is recommended you obtain a PCR test.
    • If you do not have symptoms, you should wait at least 5 days after your exposure to do testing.
    • If you are vaccinated and do not have symptoms you do not need to isolate before testing.

    Can I really get COVID again? I already had it.

    Yes. Everyone 12 years of age and older can receive an updated COVID booster which targets the new COVID variants. Although your disease may not be as severe, you can still catch COVID and pass it to others who may be more vulnerable.

    My COVID test is positive… still.

    Some patients believe they need a negative test to return to work. The truth is that once you have a positive test there is no reason to repeat a test. The isolation period is 5 days and can last up to 10 days depending on the severity of your illness. If your isolation ends on day 5, you should intentionally wear a mask whenever you go in public until the full 10 days has elapsed.

    What is Paxlovid and does it work?

    Paxlovid is one of the medications used to treat COVID. It is highly recommended for those at risk for disease progression and it significantly decreases the severity of the disease. Do not delay seeking care as this treatment must be started within days of when you first develop symptoms to be effective.

    When you have questions about urgent health concerns, you want accessible advice from your physician. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just text your doctor and ask? At Roots Health DPC that is how we provide medical care! We are available to our patients by phone, email, and text anytime. Schedule a FREE “Meet and Greet” at Roots Health DPC to find out more.


    Free Meet & GREET

     

    We are now accepting new patients and would love the privilege of serving you in our clinic.

    Mondays with your MD – Back-to-school Health Tips

    2022-08-22T19:59:16+00:00August 22nd, 2022|Families, Family Practice, Health Care, Public Health|

    It’s that time of year again! Today we can review how to help children have a successful year.

    Focus on Nutrition

    Packing a healthy school lunch is key for giving your child a healthy energy boost during their school day.

    High protein foods (yogurt, cheese, beans, hummus) with fresh vegetables and fruits are best.

    Avoid empty calories added from sugars and solid fats.

    Hydrate with water. Drink the number of 8oz cups daily equal to age. (5 cups for 5 year old)

    Make Sleep a Priority

    Most healthy children need EIGHT TO TEN HOURS of sleep each night

    Put away electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime

    Encourage children to read a book before bedtime

    Eating a light healthy snack before bed can be beneficial, but avoid caffeine

    Learning Styles and Behaviors

    Now is a good time to schedule an annual exam with your doctor

    Review any questions or concerns you may have about age-appropriate behavior, developmental milestones, and learning needs that can affect your child’s ability to learn in a classroom

    Vision Screening is important. If your child is squinting, tilting head and holding handheld devices too closely are just some of the signs your child may have a vision problem.

    Exercise: Get Active

    School age children need 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day

    Encourage sports and outdoor activities after school

    Walk or Bike to school

    It is an exciting time with lots of changes to the routine. Parents play a key role in helping children make a successful transition.

    Mondays with your MD – HPV: What you should know

    2022-08-15T21:41:16+00:00August 15th, 2022|Adults, Family Medicine, Health Care, Public Health|

    Human Papilomaviurs, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.

    70- 80% of women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lifetime. HPV can cause cervical cancer.

    The following questions and answers address what you need to know about HPV and screening for cervical cancer:

    What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?

    HPV is a group of viruses that can be passed through sexual contact. The types that infect the genital area are called genital HPV.

    Who gets HPV?

    Genital HPV is the most common STI in the United States. It is so common that 70-80% of women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lifetime.

    What are the symptoms of HPV?

    Most people with HPV do not have any symptoms which is why women need regular Pap tests starting at age 21. The Pap test can find changes on the cervix caused by HPV. If you are a woman between ages 30 and 65, you can also do a DNA test for HPV strains of the virus that cause cervical changes.
    HPV infections can sometimes cause genital warts. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area and
    physicians can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.

    What health problems can HPV cause?

    HPV usually goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems including: cervical cancer and genital warts most commonly.

    Do I need to get tested for HPV?

    • If you are 21 to 29 years old, your doctor might suggest the HPV test if you have had an unclear Pap test result. Most women younger than 30 do not need the HPV test, because the immune system fights off HPV in the vast majority.
    • If you are 30 years or older, you may choose to have the HPV test and Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. If both tests are normal, the chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is very low and often you can wait up to five years for your next HPV screening.

    How can I prevent HPV?

    There are two ways to prevent HPV. One way is get an HPV vaccine. The other way to prevent HPV or any STI is to avoid sexual contact with another person.

     

    If you do have sex, lower your risk of getting an STI with the following steps:

    • Use condoms. Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex.
    • Limit your number of sex partners. Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number
      of partners you have.

    If I get the HPV vaccine, do I still need to use a condom?

    Yes. The vaccine does not replace or decrease the need to wear condoms. Using condoms lowers your risk of getting other types of HPV and other STIs.

    Do I still need a Pap test if I got the HPV vaccine?

    Yes. There are three reasons why:

    • Although the HPV vaccine protects against many of the HPV types that cause cervical cancer, it does not prevent all HPV types that cause cervical cancer.
    • You might not be fully protected if you did not get all the vaccine doses (or at the recommended ages).
    • You might not fully benefit from the vaccine if you were vaccinated after getting one or more types of HPV before vaccination.

    Talk to your doctor today about HPV screening

    Mondays with your MD – Monkeypox: Questions and Answers

    2022-07-31T14:56:29+00:00July 31st, 2022|Adults, Families, Public Health, Urgent Care|

    Monkeypox is caused by a virus that is usually not serious, though the rash is painful and can cause scarring.
    Although a public health emergency, Monkeypox disease is not similar to COVID and no one should panic.

    What is monkeypox?

    Previously, monkeypox was known as a rare disease. It was first seen in humans in 1970 and caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus (a part of the same family of viruses as smallpox). The disease is milder than small pox symptoms and it is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease that lasts 2-4 weeks.

    What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

    • Headaches
    • Muscle aches
    • Exhaustion
    • Fever
    • Sore throat, cough, congestion
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Rash

    What does the rash look like?

    The rash can be extremely itchy or painful and goes through different stages before forming a scab and healing. It can be located near genitals but also on hands feet and other parts of the body.

    How does the virus spread?

    • Through close skin to skin contact
    • Contact with surfaces used by someone with monkeypox (shared towels for example).
    • Direct contact with rash or body fluids from someone with monkeypox.

    How can I protect myself?

    • Limit contact by avoiding close skin to skin contact of persons with a rash.
    • Do not share utensils, plates, or cups with person who has monkeypox.
    • Do not handle bedding towels or cloths with person who has monkeypox.
    • Wash hands frequently.
    • The vaccine is limited and recommended for people who have been exposed to monkeypox.

    Mondays with your MD – Women’s Rights to Reproductive Health Care in 2022

    2022-07-03T18:04:48+00:00July 3rd, 2022|Adults, Family Practice, Health Care, Pregnancy, Public Health|

    I am grateful today that I live in Illinois, but I do not believe access to health care should depend on where a woman is residing within the US. The disruption to appropriate health care for women has caused chaos in caring for women who are pregnant, and ultimately will lead to preventable deaths of women that will affect the entire nation for generations.

    People misunderstand the far-reaching consequences of the ruling by believing abortion to be a simple elective decision to terminate a “normal” pregnancy. This ruling, in fact, threatens the fundamental health care rights of women. It demonstrates HOW IMPORTANT the physician-patient relationship is and why neither government nor insurance companies have any place making health-care decisions.

    Reverting to state level laws from early 1900s, immediately following this ruling, has put numerous physicians in an impossible situation wondering how to legally provide appropriate care for their patients. In Utah, for example, the law describes the delivery of anything except a dead fetus as an abortion. Women who are severely infected or hemorrhaging as a complication of pregnancy, with a fetus that has a heartbeat but cannot survive outside of the uterus, have routinely been treated by terminating pregnancy as the standard of care… until now. With the change in law, instead of terminating the fetus and sparing the life of the woman, there will be an additional preventable loss of life. The lives of women will be lost.

    In some states, immediately following the ruling, physicians were asked to contact the legal department prior to caring for patients appropriately….this simple delay in care can cost the life of a woman who is hemorrhaging from an ectopic non-viable pregnancy in an emergency care situation.

    The supreme court decision eliminates equitable and safe access to medical care and will ultimately lead to higher maternal mortality rates in the US. There is absolutely no space for third parties, government bodies nor insurance companies, in the delivery of health care. These decisions must be made DIRECTLY between patients and their physicians.

    “The American Medical Association is deeply disturbed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nearly a half century of precedent protecting patients’ right to critical reproductive healthcare—representing an egregious allowance of government intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’; rights to evidence-based reproductive health services. States that end legal abortion will not end abortion—they will end safe abortion, risking devastating consequences, including patients’ lives….

    We will always have physicians’ backs and defend the practice of medicine, we will fight to protect the patient-physician relationship, and we will oppose any law or regulation that compromises or criminalizes patient access to safe, evidence-based medical care, including abortion. As the health of millions of patients hangs in the balance, this is a fight we will not give up.”

    No waiting. Healthcare delivered when you need it.