When To Call The Doctor For Common Ailments

Many question whether or not to bother their family medicine practitioner when it comes to common issues like headaches, fever and similar. Sadly, most don’t want to be a bother or seem like they are calling for every little thing but it’s important to realize that anyone practicing family medicine is there for them and their family whenever they are concerned about their health. There should be no reason to shy away from at least giving them a call.

Here are some common ailments and how one should approach them; if they should call their family medicine professional or wait it out.

Fever

Fever in children is their little body’s common reaction to any type of infection in the body. The raised temperature makes the body inhospitable for any germs. The best thing to do is to give them over-the-counter medications to reduce fever and keep them comfortable.

In adults, fever is another story. This is because the family medicine specialist is able to ask them about aches and pains, and about their medical history. Those with immune system deficiencies should take fever as the sign of inflammation and a possible more serious condition, and should definitely at least call their family medicine doctor.

Those who have the following should especially pay attention to fever:

• Rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory diseases
• Cancer
• HIV/AIDS

Outside of these diseases, anyone that is experiencing fever along with other symptoms should give the doctor a call.

Skin Conditions

If one has a huge flare up, and they’re quite bothered by a rash then they should definitely call their family medicine expert. If it’s just a bit of acne, or a random rash that’s not really bothering then one can try an over-the-counter allergy medicine or cream for rashes. In any case, if it is unbearable see a medical pro immediately. There is zero reason to be uncomfortable.

If noticing spots on the skin and they are itching, flaking, changing color, growing or bleeding it’s crucial to be seen. Melanoma can sometimes look like age spots, so don’t just write it off, especially if it’s unusual.

Anxiety

If the reason for the anxiety trigger is known, such as tomorrow is the big wedding day or a test is coming up, there’s no reason to call a family medicine specialist. However, if the anxiety is constant and it’s driving a person to drink, eat, lose sleep or any other serious symptoms that may cause one to harm themselves or others than medical attention is a must.

Keep in mind, a physician isn’t just there for physical ailments but mental as well. They are a confidant that one can express concerns to and feel comfortable doing so. Everyone suffers trials and tribulations sometimes. On a more serious note, symptoms of anxiety can mimic those of hyperthyroidism, so keep that in mind.

Bad Breath

Many will say, “Why on earth would I be concerned about bad breath, I’ll just brush my teeth or see the dentist.” While those are great options, chronic bad breath can be signs of many underlying issues. If it’s not remedied with oral healthcare, it could be a sign of:

• Lung problems
• Kidney problems
• Intestinal issues
• Cancer

Sweet or fruity breath? This wouldn’t normally set off the red flags, but it could be a sign of diabetes.

Excessive Belching

Much like bad breath, not too many individuals are concerned when they burp. While it’s normal to belch after a great meal or drink, it’s unnatural to excessively burp. The following conditions in addition to lots of burps may be a bad sign, and one should contact their family medicine professional if they are concerned:

• Burning chest
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Bloating
• Unexplained weight loss

Ripples From an Infant’s Distress

With all that has to happen in the womb, it’s amazing that anyone is ever born at all.

~Coleman Haggerty, CP~

William was born in the usual way to the delight of his family, relatives and their friends. He appeared as a beautiful baby boy and everyone rejoiced. On his second day of life a nurse found him gray and crying in a high-pitched tone indicating distress. His caregivers switched into emergency mode and immediately transferred him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The staff closely monitored him and conducted tests to rule out the most likely reasons for his distress. The tests were all came back normal. He stabilized and returned to looking and acting like a healthy baby.

When a baby is born we all expect or at least hope that no difficulties will arise. When a crisis arises for a newborn, we suddenly face the fragility of life. Babies are delicate and need a great deal of protection. We all accept that. But how do we react when a baby is faced with an unknown threat? We want to do what we can but we don’t know what we can do. We are left to rely on the medical experts and prayers to God to help the baby through the crisis.

I once heard a sermon by Father Brendan Breen reminding us that whatever we do ripples out through the world with effects on everyone. We obviously do not affect the whole world directly. What we do, good or bad, affects those who come into contact with us. Our actions affect those in contact with us and modify their outlook on life and their actions toward others, again for better or worse. Then those we have affected pass on to others what they have gained or lost from their experience with us. In that way we are all connected, even though we will never meet most of the people we affect indirectly.

As I just mentioned, we tend to see babies as fragile and helpless. Yet William has already had a wide-reaching effect on many people most of whom he will never meet. As word of his distress spread from his family to relatives and friends, others who were told of him gained an opportunity to turn their thoughts and prayers in his direction. All of these people got a chance to consider the fragility, wonder and connection with others we all share.

Thank you William for helping all of us to stay connected and human. Good health to you. We look forward to seeing how the rest of your life enriches us.

Life Lab Lessons

Treasure the lives of those you love.
Show them you care every chance you get.
Care for yourself. You are precious to others.
Care for people you don’t know when you have the chance.
Remember that we are all part of the human community.

Urgent Care – What Is It?

This is a health care service that is provided to those who have a medical condition or injury that requires medical attention. It is also less expensive to visit urgent care than going to the emergency room. Usually the medical care that is needed is within twenty-four hours after an injury has happened or you became sick. Urgent care is usually a clinic that is not attached to a hospital, but may be on the same grounds as the hospital. Many times patients who visit this type of clinic do have a regular physician but they cannot get in that day to see their physician or it is after hours at their physician. If their medical illness or medical condition is not serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room they can choose to go to urgent care instead.

These types of medical clinics began to emerge in the 1970s and many times health insurance companies strongly encouraged their clients to use this walk-in clinic whenever they needed medical care and either did not have a regular physician or could not get into see them. The reason that they encouraged their clients to use them were because of the reduced cost. The patients could also have their conditions treated before they reach emergency status and a trip to the emergency room was needed. One example is if your child had a sore throat and it was treated within twenty-four hours it was very manageable and could be treated with medicine for the sore throat and maybe an antibiotic along with rest. If it was ignored it could become very serious, especially if it was on a weekend, and might require a trip to the emergency room.

Many of these are walk-in clinics operate on a first-come-first-served basis so if it is crowded you may have a bit of a wait. Some may require you to make an appointment but guarantee that you will be seen within twenty-four hours. Depending on the level of the urgent care facility these clinics can offer a variety of medical services. If it becomes necessary the urgent care facility can send you to the hospital emergency room. Urgent care can also perform some basic medical testing, including medical imaging like ultrasounds and x-rays for the purpose of diagnosing what your problem is. After you have been seen at urgent care you will be advised to make a follow-up visit with your regular physician in the next couple of days or to come back if the condition becomes worse.

Types of Urgent Care for Children

For a parent of a sick child a children’s urgent care can be a big help, especially if you cannot get an appointment with their pediatrician that day. The sick child may need to be seen that day but is not sick enough that a run to the emergency room is necessary. These urgent care facilities for children focuses on the needs of children and are better equipped to deal with the needs of children. They often provide treatment for medical conditions like fevers, eye or ear infections, serious coughs, etc.

An urgent care facility for children is where medical personnel deliver care outside of the emergency room of the hospital. Most times it is on a “first come-first serve” walk-in basis. The hours of an urgent care varies. They can extended hours, regular business hours, and weekend hours. With extended hours this can mean being open until eight or nine in the evening. Most are open on weekends to see children that are not ill enough to go to the emergency room but cannot wait until their pediatrician opens on Monday. If it is late night then you may have no choice but go to the emergency room.

Urgent care for children has a goal, which is to give prompt care illnesses, non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, and acute injuries. Many times the nurses and physicians who work in this type of setting are more comfortable working with children and treating their illnesses and injuries than they are working with adults. When a child is hurt or sick they may be more relaxed and less frightened in the calmer environment of a children’s urgent care than in an emergency room that can be very noisy and crowed. They may also be treated more quickly because in an emergency room they work with the more serious cases first so the wait to be seen can be a long time.

It can be stressful when caring for a child that is injured or ill for a parent especially if they have to wait a long period of time in an emergency room. It can help to comfort the parent knowing that there is an urgent care for children nearby that they can take their child too to be treated by professionals who have experience working with children. Having this experience can help a physician and nurse to know how to talk to a child who is sick or injured and help them relax. This can make the visit less difficult for all involved. If the child is seriously ill or injured you should take them to an emergency room.

Stem Cells and the Aging Brain

Aging is a part and parcel of life, but as our body ages, our brains age too. Just like an aging body can be riddled with diseases and illnesses like arthritis, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, an aging brain too can be afflicted with sickness. The age-associated diseases that affect the brain are often clustered under the umbrella-term of ‘neurodegeneration’. Diseases like Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are some of the better known disorders that fall under this terminology.

Let us first understand what the term ‘neurodegeneration’ actually encompasses. The Oxford Dictionary defines neurodegeneration as the “Degeneration of the nervous system, especially of neurons in the brain”. According to the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), the nervous system of the human body comprises of neurons. In case they suffer damage, they do not possess the ability to repair, replace or reproduce themselves. This inability results in neurodegenerative diseases.

Previously, neurodegenerative diseases were believed to be incurable. However, with the gigantic steps towards advancement that medical science has taken in the recent years, scientists have been able to devise procedures that help in assisting individuals suffering from neurodegenerative disease. Stem cell therapy is among these advanced procedures that have recently shown positive results.

These cells are mother or master cells that have the ability to differentiate into other types of specialized cells through the process of mitosis. They can repair internal tissue damage by developing into a cell with a specialized function like a blood cell or brain cell. They also possess the ability to renew themselves.

Utilizing these type of cells to treat medical disorders and diseases is known as stem cell therapy. Transplantation of stem cells is the most common procedure used in this cell therapy. In cases of brain degeneration, stem cells are transplanted into the patient. These cells then become progenitor cells that work within the brain to maintain the neuron functions. Research has been conducted on animal models for diseases like Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis, which have provided optimistic outcomes.

In a symposium organized by EuroStemCell, Magdalena Götz, PhD, Helmholtz Zentrum München, spoke about the radial glial cells which are present in the neural stem cells and described them as “they look like glia, they smell like glia but they are actually the neural stem cells.” She further explained the development of brain cells and the possibility of guiding neural stem cells to locate and repair the injury site inside the brain, while also regenerating neurons.

Stem cell research is the future of neurology. With several clinical studies being conducted year after year, the use of the cells in this therapy in treating neurological disorders is constantly expanding. In India, the guidelines established by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting clinical studies have been revolutionised leading to extensive research being done in the field of stem cell therapy.