Frequently Asked Questions
Commonly asked questions regarding primary care, pharmacy, wellness, and more!
How can I access mental health services through my primary care provider?
Many primary care providers can offer initial mental health screenings and may refer you to a specialist, like a therapist or psychiatrist. If you feel the need for mental health support, start by discussing your concerns with your primary care physician, and they can guide you to the appropriate resources.
What steps can I take to prevent common illnesses?
Common preventative measures include regular hand washing, getting vaccinated, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, getting regular check-ups, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.
What are some tips for managing chronic pain without medication?
Managing chronic pain holistically can involve a combination of physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy. A balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco can also help reduce pain. Always consult with healthcare professionals to create an individualized plan.
How do I know if my personal health information is kept confidential?
Healthcare providers in many countries are bound by laws and regulations to protect patient privacy, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the U.S. If you're concerned, ask your provider about their privacy policies, and ensure they have secure systems in place for storing and transmitting health information.
Is it safe to mix over-the-counter supplements with prescription medication?
Not always. Some supplements can interact with prescription medications, affecting their efficacy or causing side effects. Always consult with a pharmacist or doctor before starting any new supplement, especially if you're on prescription medications.
How do I transfer my medical records to a new provider?
To transfer your medical records, start by contacting your current healthcare provider. They'll typically have a process in place which may require you to fill out a medical records release form. Once completed, they will send your records directly to your new provider or give you a copy to deliver.
What are the signs that I might need to see a specialist?
If you have a health concern that's beyond the general scope of a primary care physician, you may need a specialist. Signs can include persistent symptoms despite treatment, a diagnosis of a specific or rare condition, need for specialized surgery, or if your primary care physician recommends a specialist's opinion.
Are telehealth services as effective as in-person visits?
Telehealth services can be incredibly effective, especially for routine check-ups, consultations, and follow-up visits. They offer the convenience of medical advice without the need to travel. However, there are instances where in-person visits are essential, such as for physical examinations, diagnostic tests, or certain treatments. It's essential to communicate with your healthcare provider to determine the best method for your needs.
How do I choose the right primary care physician for my needs?
Choosing the right primary care physician is a personal decision and often depends on your specific health needs, location, and preferences. Begin by checking which doctors are in-network with your insurance. From there, consider factors such as the doctor's experience, specializations, patient reviews, office location, and hours. It's also beneficial to visit the office or have a preliminary consultation to gauge your comfort level with the doctor and staff.
What should I do if I'm traveling and forget my medication?
Contact your doctor or pharmacist. They might provide guidance on what to do next, whether it's transferring a prescription, recommending an alternative, or giving other instructions.
How often should I get a flu shot?
It's recommended to get a flu shot annually, as flu strains can change from year to year.
Do I need to fast before a blood test?
It depends on the type of blood test. Some tests, like glucose or cholesterol tests, may require fasting. Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
How much sleep should adults get each night?
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and well-being.
What are some ways to manage stress?
Common strategies include exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and seeking counseling or therapy.
How much exercise should I be getting?
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week for adults.
What's the difference between generic and brand-name drugs?
Generic and brand-name drugs have the same active ingredient, but generics are typically less expensive. They are equivalent in dose, form, safety, strength, and intended use.
Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?
It depends on the medication. Some medicines can have dangerous interactions with alcohol. Always consult with your pharmacist or doctor before mixing alcohol with any medication.
Is it okay to take expired medication?
It's best not to take expired medication. Over time, medicines can lose their effectiveness and may not provide the necessary therapeutic effect.
What is primary care?
Primary care is the first point of contact for patients seeking medical attention for common illnesses, injuries, and chronic conditions. It includes a wide range of healthcare services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment.
Who provides primary care services?
Primary care services are typically provided by healthcare professionals such as family physicians, general practitioners, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
What types of services are offered in primary care?
Primary care providers offer a variety of services, including routine check-ups, vaccinations, diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses and injuries, management of chronic conditions, and referrals to specialists when necessary.
When should I see a primary care provider?
You should see a primary care provider for regular check-ups and preventive care, as well as for any non-emergency medical concerns such as cold and flu symptoms, minor injuries, and chronic conditions.
How often should I see my primary care provider?
The frequency of visits to a primary care provider may vary based on age, health status, and other factors. In general, it is recommended that adults schedule a check-up at least once a year, while children and seniors may need to be seen more frequently.
Can primary care providers prescribe medications?
Yes, primary care providers can prescribe medications for a variety of conditions, including acute illnesses and chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
What's the difference between a DO and an MD?
Both DOs (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and MDs (Doctor of Medicine) are fully licensed physicians, but DOs receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system and may use osteopathic manipulative treatments in care.