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 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

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.


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

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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.

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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.

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