person getting a shot

Flu Season: Everything You Need to Know About Flu Shots

The flu, medically recognized as influenza, is a viral respiratory infection that affects millions worldwide. Its symptoms include a slight fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and general fatigue. While most cases of the flu tend to go away after enough best, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused flu-like symptoms to be a major cause for concern.

Flu vaccines are updated yearly since strains grow and develop to be resistant to medicines. For this reason, getting a flu vaccine is recommended to keep yourself from getting infected. Since a flu vaccine isn’t for everyone, it’s vital to know your research before booking a schedule for a shot at your local clinic.

The Flu Vaccine’s Development

Since influenza strains develop over time, the seasonal flu vaccine needs to be manufactured months in advance. The basis of the vaccine is the result of extensive research on which strains will be most present in the upcoming season.

People can typically take one of two vaccine variants, with each providing protection to a set of influenza viruses. The trivalent vaccine protects individuals from three flu viruses: one influenza B virus and two influenza A viruses. On the other hand, a quadrivalent vaccine offers protections for two viruses of the A and B strain simultaneously.

The Flu Vaccine’s Recipients

Getting a flu vaccine is generally a safe procedure, but it can be more necessary for certain individuals. Those who are particularly in need of the flu vaccine are the following:

  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant women
  • American Indians
  • Alaska Natives
  • Healthcare workers
  • Caregivers
  • Children between six months and five months of age

There are exemptions to getting the flu vaccine. For example, children under six months of age shouldn’t receive these medical procedures. Instead, it’s better to protect the child’s adult family members from lowering the chances of infection.

The Flu Vaccine’s Effect

After receiving the flu shot, it will take two weeks before your body develops appropriate antibodies for flu protection. During this period, you’ll still be vulnerable to the flu. For this reason, you should maintain good hygiene and avoid crowds or touching your nose and mouth. These precautions are similar to what you should do after getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

The immunity to the flu will naturally decrease over time, but it should give you enough protection to last the yearly flu season. However, the continual growth of influenza viruses will require you to take another shot to maintain your body’s proper response against flu infections.

The Flu Vaccine’s Side Effects

General side effects from receiving the vaccine include redness, swelling, or soreness from the injection site. You may also have a low-grade fever or general body aches. Thankfully, these symptoms tend to go away on their own without any need for OTC medicine or prescription medication.

Conclusion

Since a diagnosis of COVID-19 requires a rapid test to confirm, it can be distressing to wait for results while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Thankfully, vaccines for the flu and COVID-19 are readily available to protect against these diseases’ more severe health complications. If you’re fit to receive the vaccine for either illness, it’s best to take it as an extra defense layer to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

Getting the flu vaccine is a long-term investment to your health and your loved ones’ protection. This is why our team at Aspen Medical care provides services to help you make the right medical choices. Take your flu shots in Santa Fe, VM, by visiting our facilities today!

vaccines

The Concept of Herd Immunity in the Age of COVID-19

For almost two years now, the world has concentrated on efforts and urgent care for the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations are currently ongoing across the globe, and many doctors and healthcare workers hope to finally overcome the virus or achieve herd immunity.

However, there are still many issues around the globe when it comes to proper pandemic response. Most countries’ conditions are still less than ideal for treatment and containment. If only vaccination or effective treatment and response were as simple as getting a PCR test in Santa Fe today.

We have to look at other facts to gauge worldwide response. It will at least give us a real update to know when we can see good statistics on its elimination. Or at least a dramatic decline of the virus.

The Reality of Today’s COVID-19 Pandemic

Vaccination remains the top priority in the effective elimination of the virus. Second, three key treatment methods are coming in for a COVID swab test, quarantining, and proper treatment of emerging symptoms. These are the primary pandemic responses in place to know who are carriers and separate them from the general populace for treatment.

Once a primary care doctor sees a positive result for the coronavirus, treatment is made ASAP. Many advanced treatments are in place, whether it’s for a mild or a severe case. The main goal is both isolation and successful treatment to contain the virus and avoid spreading it further.

Ultimately, by consistently carrying out these pandemic solutions, we can dramatically decrease active carriers until positive cases are eliminated. Vaccinated citizens can start outnumbering potential carriers until a very few percentages of the world’s population only has the virus. Up until the point where only patients in treatment will carry it until each case is successfully treated.

Herd community is a possibility in many countries with advanced vaccination programs. But the whole world is still trying to catch up, with many variations of the virus spreading anew. These alarming developments have to be consistently worked on as they can affect the progress we’ve made so far.

Can the World Achieve Herd Immunity?

We can achieve freedom from COVID by dramatically reduced COVID-19 infections and herd immunity through mass vaccinations. Herd immunity works when these two conditions are met, resulting in an extreme decline in cases.

The first condition still poses many difficult issues around the world. Ideally, we want a percentage decline where 90 percent or more of the world’s population are tested, treated, or vaccinated, leaving 10 percent or less to worry about for treatment. A far more realistic approach in real herd immunity is still with mass vaccinations. A perfect example can be seen with the earliest measles outbreak. It was resolved by an effective measles vaccine treatment, with 95 percent of the population successfully vaccinated. These are the rare instances we can say that herd immunity is achieved and the world has successfully beaten the virus.

Final Thoughts

As with any severe case of illness, you have to fight it with the proper response and treatment. COVID-19 has shown us that many health systems are in place to address it—in this case, isolation and preventive measures help contain it. Fast and appropriate medical responses are crucial in the effective treatment and further spread of any illness. 

Aspen Medical Center offers urgent and primary care physicians in Santa Fe who provide prompt and appropriate medical attention. We accept new and walk-in patients for the same level of treatment for everyone, including weekends and evening appointments, seven days a week. Get in touch right away for any urgent medical needs.

woman with stomach pain

3 Serious Medical Conditions Associated With Abdominal Pain

It’s pretty easy to dismiss stomach aches as something minor. Most people usually associate this symptom with mild issues such as indigestion, constipation, and the like, so they often think that there’s no cause of worry. After all, even though it feels pretty unpleasant, it will dissipate on its own after drinking water and getting enough rest.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case for most people. Believe it or not, abdominal pain can also signify more serious medical conditions. Thus, you must familiarize yourself in differentiating whether your aching stomach poses a grave concern or not.

Abdominal pain that frequently comes back and lasts for several days is not normal. And suppose you feel a sharp pain in your stomach that gradually worsens over time, followed by other symptoms. In that case, it’s best to see your primary care doctor since you might be suffering from a severe medical condition like the ones listed below.

1. Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a complication that refers to an inflamed or infected appendix, a tiny sac of tissue in the lower right area of your abdomen that serves as an extension of your large intestine. For this reason, the most recognizable symptom associated with appendicitis is abdominal pain.

It starts as a dull ache in the middle part of the abdomen, which is relatively easy to ignore. But as the infection gets worse, you will start to feel sharper pain that moves slowly toward the lower right part of your abdomen within 12 to 24 hours. Other symptoms also include fever, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

2. Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia arises when the upper part of your stomach starts to bulge through the muscle that separates your chest and abdomen, pushing up through the opening of your esophagus. A hiatal hernia that is small in size usually doesn’t cause any problem. However, large bulges can potentially obstruct internal organs and impede body functions.

One of the early signs of hiatal hernia is chest and abdominal pain. And as the condition worsens, you may also start to feel shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food into the mouth, and the like.

3. Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the inflammation of the digestive tract, causing it to bleed and develop ulcers. According to a primary care doctor, it can also be pretty disruptive since it leads to excruciating abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, and malnutrition.

Currently, doctors still don’t know what causes this disease. However, researchers recently found a link that the disease may be genetic. They discovered that 15 to 20 percent of people who develop Crohn’s have relatives that suffer from the same illness.

Conclusion

Given all the information above, it’s pretty clear that you must never ignore what seem to be mild symptoms such as abdominal pain. The medical conditions above can be deadly, but there are ways to treat them when detected early. So instead of diagnosing yourself, it’s best to visit and consult an experienced primary care doctor to determine what is ailing you.

Aspen Medical Center is a locally owned outpatient medical facility based in Santa Fe. Here in our care center, we offer first-rate primary and urgent care services for patients in dire need of treatment. If you’re worried about your symptoms, schedule a consultation with an experienced primary care doctor today!

Digital Blood Sugar Meter with Injections and Medication

Debunking 5 Common Myths About Type 2 Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which sugar or glucose levels build up in the bloodstream. Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes that causes the body to ineffectively produce insulin to lower down the body’s sugar levels. In effect, patients may feel constant hunger, lack of energy, fatigue, extreme thirst, and weight loss.

People with type 2 diabetes may need to undergo various treatments to help their bodies produce more insulin. Others may have to change their diets completely to adjust the sugar levels in their body without needing insulin. However, management of the condition can be a bit tricky. Additionally, there are many myths about managing type 2 diabetes. Read on to find out which ones are true and which ones are not.

1. There’s No Need to Monitor Blood Sugar

Monitoring the blood sugar is the only way to know if the sugar levels in the patient’s body are rising or staying within the target. Depending on the doctor’s treatment plan, patients may need to check their blood sugar multiple times a day.

Patients can use a blood glucose meter, where they need to prick themselves to draw out blood samples used for testing. They can also use continuous glucose monitors to check their blood sugar levels. Both options are quick and easy to use, even without a health professional’s supervision.

2. Cinnamon and Turmeric Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes

As of writing, there are no known ways to cure either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Hence, there are no magic food, herbs, or spices that can cure diabetes. However, there is much research done to find how to cure Type 1 diabetes. Both types of diabetes can be prevented as long as patients experiencing symptoms early on are brought to a hospital for observation.

However, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes still need to regularly pay attention to their health, diet, and sugar levels. They should also periodically check in with their doctors to make sure everything is in order.

3. It’s Okay To Skip Medication When Blood Sugar Is Under Control

Keeping the blood sugar levels of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes doesn’t solely depend on medicines alone. In some cases, people with the condition could keep their blood sugar levels at bay by simply changing their lifestyles.

The patients changed their diet, tried to lose weight, and they frequently exercised. In effect, their blood sugar levels stayed low even without their medicines on hand all the time. However, if the condition progresses, then, of course, you might need to follow your doctor’s orders and take your prescribed medications even if the sugar levels are under control.

4. It’s Not Safe to Exercise

Exercising regularly is a critical part of managing blood sugar levels. It helps boost the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Getting active is a way to lower A1C, which shows how well-managed your blood sugar is over time.

However, it’s unsafe to do any exercise program that you prefer. It’s advisable to consult your doctor about the best way to exercise for your condition and status. Also, inquire about your medication and the insulin dosage you use during exercise.

5. Taking Insulin Is a Sign of Mismanagement

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disorder. Using insulin shots to manage blood sugar levels is always a good thing. After being diagnosed, most people are only prescribed oral medication and lifestyle changes to keep the situation under control. Over time, our body will produce less insulin which means taking oral medication may not be enough.

Taking insulin doesn’t mean you failed. It only means you need to take extra measures to ensure that your body gets the recommended amount of insulin to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a complex disorder. Myths shouldn’t make people fear the disease. Instead, they should fuel people’s need to learn more about their health conditions to help them make better choices. 

Aspen Medical Center is dedicated to serving your health care needs. We offer urgent and primary care for patients seeking medical assistance. We accept walk-ins, but you can also schedule a check-in appointment online. Sign up on our website and pick your preferred schedule.

person typing on laptop

How Protein and Fat Impact Glucose Levels

Many people are cautious about their sugar and carbohydrate intake because consuming too much can cause many health issues now and in the future. However, thinking that sugar and carbohydrates are the only macronutrients you should regulate is a dangerous misconception. 

The truth is, you must monitor all types of food you ingest. Most people are not aware that proteins and fat can increase your glucose level, leading to potential harm to your body. They could also play a role in improving your blood sugar level.

To understand the concept of how protein and fat can affect your blood sugar level, you should also have a little knowledge about the relationships among the three macronutrients. Read on to know the relationship between carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 

Understanding Macronutrients 

The calories you ingest every day are responsible for providing your body energy to perform tasks. The three primary sources of calories are carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. For a healthy and balanced diet, you must not consume them separately. Instead, you need to prepare dishes that contain all three.

To understand what the statement above means, here are a few examples:

  • Low-fat (2% ) milk mainly contains carbohydrates, less protein, and a small amount of fat. 
  • A grilled chicken thigh without any sauce or seasoning contains protein and a little bit of fat with no carbohydrates.
  • Corn on the cob mainly contains carbohydrates with a limited amount of protein.
  • Peanut butter is composed of a large amount of fat and some protein. 

Balancing Macronutrients 

If you want to work on calorie budgeting to lower the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, you can look at macronutrients as a whole. Here are simple steps to try:

  • Go for whole foods instead of highly processed ones
  • As much as possible, take out sugar-sweetened drinks from your diet
  • Drink as much water as you can
  • Stay away from refined grains and added sugars
  • If you love vegetables, opt for non-starchy ones instead

The Proper Food Diet for a Normal Blood Glucose Level

According to research, the human body has different = glucose responses to varying carbohydrate, protein, and fat combinations in food. The sad reality is that it is nearly impossible to recommend one perfect combination for anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet.

The truth is, there is no one perfect piece of advice to maintain an average blood sugar level. The best option is to monitor your blood glucose daily. After getting the results, try to record them and compile them to bring to a walk-in clinic and let the primary care doctor make a further and thorough study about the perfect diet you should observe.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial to monitor your blood glucose level regularly. For a week, you can check it after you wake up, then the week after that, check it before meals. On the third week, check it an hour or two after finishing your meal. If you have a particularly indulgent or large dinner one evening, you can check in on your glucose level then, too. 

Remember that individual tests can help you determine the perfect balance you need for daily food consumption. You can also choose to share the results with your doctor in an urgent care center to have a more precise measurement of your food intake.

If you are in need of a primary care physician in Santa Fe, visit Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally-owned outpatient medical facility that offers the best primary care and urgent care services in Santa Fe, NM, and surrounding areas. Call now to schedule an appointment!

woman stretching

The Importance of Your Liver in Your Sugar Metabolism

Sugar metabolism is essential as it provides fuel for the body. It keeps the body energized, thanks to glucose consumption. 

But did you know that the liver can significantly affect and help with sugar metabolism? If this information is new to you, you should know that one of the liver’s many functions is regulating blood sugar. The organ plays a central role because it contributes to a lot of metabolic processes in the body. 

In this article, we will discuss how your liver affects your sugar metabolism so that you can understand how essential it is to keep your liver healthy. 

The Liver Serves as a Storage of Sugar

As you know, sugar is one of the primary sources of energy in the body. Without it, your brain, central nervous system, and red blood cells may not function properly. One of the many things that a liver can do is to serve as your storage of sugar. It keeps your blood sugar level consistent so that your brain always has energy, and other parts that need sugar always function at their best. 

In instances that you have too little insulin in your body, your liver will continue to release more sugar into the blood. Remember, if you have little insulin, sugar can’t enter your body’s cells. That is why the liver is there to help you release more sugar even without insulin. 

While your liver keeps your blood sugar level consistent, there are times when the liver releases considerably more or less sugar into the blood. So, you also need to control and balance your insulin or carbohydrate intake to avoid having low or high blood sugar. 

The Liver Can Supply Counter Regulatory Hormones

Your liver can supply you with counterregulatory hormones, such as glucagon, stress, and growth hormone if you have low blood sugar. These hormones can help you recover from having low blood sugar as they bring an extra supply to your system. Once the liver supplies you with the counterregulatory hormones, the reaction in your body can last many hours. 

The Liver Can Replenish Sugar

The liver cannot only store sugar, but it can also replenish sugar. Once the liver provides you with extra sugar to help you cope with hypoglycemia, it can replenish itself as soon as possible. If you have enough sugar stored in your liver, you can manage your low blood sugar for a while. So, you also need to help your liver have enough sugar to keep by not skipping your meals because that’s when your liver will store sugar. After your meal is digested, the sugar from your food will flow directly into your liver. This sugar is also known as glucose or glycogen, and your liver will store it for a later time when your body needs it. 

Conclusion

Generally, taking care of your liver is essential because it can help you, especially if you need sugar in your body. It acts as your body’s fuel reservoir, so when your body does not have enough energy, your liver will save the day. If you constantly feel tired, sluggish, and fatigued, you must consult your doctor right away because there might be something wrong with your liver. 

If you are looking for a primary care physician in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM to check your liver, just visit Aspen Medical Center! We have professionally trained staff providing a range of services, including vaccinations, sports physicals, and urgent care services. Our medical team is trained to care for people of all ages. Schedule your appointment with us today! 

doctor

4 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Primary Care Physician

Your health should be your number one priority. This is especially true for those of you who are on the older side. And while exercising and dieting is a great way to stay healthy, it’s also important that you have access to the best medical care available. To get the best medical care, it’s important that you choose the right primary care doctor for the job.

Now, this is easier said than done as finding the right doctor can be rather tricky. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a couple of tips that will help you choose the best primary care physician available. If this is something you’re interested in, read on for our picks of the four tips that will help you find the best doctor possible.

Choose a Doctor That Your Family or Friends Recommend

It can be rather difficult to gauge how a doctor will be without actually experiencing what it’s like to be under their care. This is why one of the best ways to find the right doctor is via your family or friend’s recommendations. 

Because they’ve actually experienced what it’s like to be under their chosen doctor, they are able to give you a more accurate assessment of just how good a doctor is. And while you can opt to check reviews online, you can’t really trust them as much as your friends and family.

Opt for a Doctor That’s Near You

Convenience plays a huge factor when it comes to choosing a primary care physician. The last thing you want to do is to have to drive for 3 hours just to see your doctor. This is why you should consider the location of your doctor’s practice. 

Now, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to location as everyone has different preferences. With that being said, we do suggest choosing a doctor that is near enough for you to find it convenient.

Choose a Doctor That Suits Your Medical Needs

Everybody is different and everybody has different needs. Your age, gender, and medical conditions all play into your needs as a patient. When choosing a doctor, it’s best to consider your needs and base all the decisions you make on those needs.

This means choosing a doctor that’s an expert in their field. If you want to go the extra mile, we also suggest choosing a doctor that’s board-certified in your area as this indicates that they are well equipped to take care of your specific demographic.

Choose a Doctor That You Can Easily Communicate With

Lastly, you’ll want a doctor that you are comfortable communicating with. This is vital as you should let them know whenever something is bothering you when it comes to your health. This will go a long way in catching early complications and prevent them from getting worse. We suggest sitting down and having a conversation with your potential doctor so you can properly gauge whether or not they are a good fit for you.

Conclusion

We hope these tips prove to be useful when it comes to helping you find the best primary care physician available. While it may be rather tedious to be thorough about choosing a doctor, it will all be worth it in the end as the best doctors will help keep you healthy for the years to come. We implore you to invest your time and effort into this, as it will help improve your overall health.

If you are searching for primary care in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center is your best choice. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to ensure that you are well taken care of. For more information on our services or to book an appointment, contact us at (505) 466-5885.

man getting injected

More Than a Jab: 5 Reasons You Should Get a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot every year has been essential since its discovery and is an additional layer of protection during the pandemic. The jab may not prevent the virus, but it can help prevent flu-related illnesses, which COVID-19 can make us more susceptible to.

Children as early as six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual flu vaccination through any licensed influenza vaccine appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status.

1. Saving Lives

Even the flu can sometimes cause serious complications that may require hospitalization. Dehydration, worsening of chronic illnesses, bacterial pneumonia, and ear infections are only a few of the issues someone catching the disease can experience. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a flu shot, especially during the pandemic, will allow the health care system to conserve scarce medical resources for people with Covid-19, saving more people.

2. Reduced Sick Days

Catching Influenza not only requires you to rest at home but causes a lot of downtimes. Since it’s a viral infection that affects the respiratory system, not getting the proper medication may lead to flu complications. 

It can also be an issue for employees. The sickness can affect your productivity at work, hurting your capacity to earn income. Did you know that the flu is the reason for 111 million lost workdays and $7 billion lost in productivity and annual sick days?

3. Varied Strains

The influenza virus evolves quickly, and health organizations like the CDC do their best to predict which strain is likely to be prevalent and the type of vaccine that needs to be distributed. 

As soon as the vaccine comes into contact with our immune system, it activates and creates antibodies that fight off the virus. Therefore, as soon as the vaccinated person comes into contact with the actual flu strain, the body is protected and ready to fight it without getting sick.

4. Nothing to Fear

The side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, stuffy nose, or sore throat, are all minor. Other than those, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Many people don’t even experience any side effects, and those who do often report them as minor. 

5. Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is the concept that refers to the inability of disease to transmit through a population because of immunizations. The more people are immune, the more difficult it is for a virus to spread. Since the flu spreads quickly, it is crucial to develop herd immunity to prevent further infections. Remember that you’re not only doing it for yourself but the people around you.

Conclusion

Getting vaccinated against flu is a great way to prevent yourself from acquiring the virus. The shot saves lives. Flu’s most common symptoms include fever, aching muscles, chills, sweats, headache, cough, and sore throat. Even if you do acquire the flu virus, the vaccine can make the sickness less severe. However, if you develop complications aside from the primary symptoms, don’t hesitate to take a trip to the emergency room.

Aspen Medical Center offers the best primary care in Santa Fe. If you’re feeling sick and suspect a flu infection, we are ready to take care of you. Contact us through our website or set an appointment by calling our hotline number at 505-657-1799.

man smoking

Turning Over a New Leaf: Tips to Help You Quit Smoking for Good

Everyone knows how bad it is to smoke tobacco because it can impact one’s health in the long run. However, despite the risks, many people still find it hard to quit smoking cigarettes, especially those who have become dependent on it almost all their life.

Regardless if you’re someone who smokes occasionally or a person who has spent their lifetime smoking a pack a day, getting rid of your habit can be truly challenging. Unfortunately, smoking tobacco can become addictive not only physically but also psychologically.

That’s because the nicotine cigarette contains can become addicting, causing people to feel a temporary sort of high, which only makes them want to do it more. When you force yourself to quit, you could end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If you wish to live a healthy lifestyle, keep reading below to find out how to quit smoking and curb your addiction.

Develop a Realistic Plan

Once you realize there is no better time to quit smoking than now, the first step you need to do is decide that once and for all, you wish to stop smoking cigarettes. It’s up to you if you can go cold turkey or ease your way into it and lessen the sticks you smoke each day.

The important part is creating a plan you know you can hold onto and ensure you’re on the right path towards ridding cigarettes from your life. While it only requires a short while to quit smoking altogether, it will still involve long-term challenges that could cause you to relapse unless you receive primary care and obtain the professional support you need to keep going. 

Understand Why You Smoke

Knowing why you began smoking in the first place could help you have a better idea of what type of smoker you consider yourself to be. Every time you reach out to a cigarette, understanding why you do it could decrease your chances of smoking and instead, lean on healthy options.

If you’re smoking because you’re stressed out or depressed, you could think of going to a walk-in clinic to attend a therapy session. It doesn’t matter if you’re a chain smoker or a social smoker, if you have other addictions linked to it, like alcoholism or gambling, the more reason for you to seek professional help.  

Discover What Triggers You

Part of knowing exactly why you smoke is being familiar with the events and situations that trigger you to reach out to a cigarette, inhale nicotine, and exhale your problems away. It could be things, places, or people that every time you encounter them, you need to take a smoke break.

When you learn what makes you want to smoke, you have a better idea about the activities, feelings, and experiences associated with those triggers. Once you visit a medical clinic for help, you can let your doctor know about your smoking habits. It will allow them to help you figure out what’s the best course of action that will eliminate smoking from your life for good.

Conclusion

It can be tough to quit smoking, especially if you’ve spent a majority of your life turning to cigarettes to receive temporary happiness and help you forget about your problems. While the first step is always the hardest, it isn’t impossible to cut off your bad habits. It is never too late to seek a better life, one that’s healthier and better for you and your lifestyle. If you wish to cut off smoking from your life, you should develop a realistic plan, understand why you smoke, and discover what triggers you. Asking for help from a family physician is also necessary to achieve the expert guidance you need to turn over a new leaf.

Are you looking for a primary care doctor in Santa Fe offering tobacco cessation solutions? Aspen Medical Center provides urgent care and primary care services. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment!

asthma in summer

5 Ways to Prevent Asthma Attacks During Summer

Many would agree that summer is the best season of the year. Indeed, there is no experience much like basking in the golden sunlight, swimming in the blue sea, and feeling the warm breeze against your skin. Once the summer season arrives, it feels like anything magical can happen—once you’re in that warm weather state of mind, living feels lighter, easier, and more beautiful!

However, although summer is a universally beloved time, it isn’t a perfect season. During the warmer months, the temperature can get so high you can get dehydrated, sweat sticking to your clothes feels uncomfortable, not to mention the humidity leads to uncomfortable days under the heat.

Warm Weather Woes

With summer comes bright sunshine and luscious evergreen, but what many forget is that the season also brings forth uncomfortable heat and humidity, which is never a good combination for asthmatic individuals. If you think that winter mornings are as bad as they could get, you haven’t experienced the brunt of summer afternoons!

If you have asthma, it’s crucial to watch out for summer, as the increase in humidity can trigger some symptoms. Moreover, the combination of heat and humidity creates a fertile breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and other allergens, which could affect your breathing.

To an asthmatic person, heat and humidity aren’t just irritating—they can trigger asthma symptoms and even cause serious problems, which may require urgent care!

Managing Your Asthma in the Summer

Summer is inevitable, but asthma symptoms are avoidable! If you’re an asthmatic, you can still feel comfortable during the season and prevent summer symptoms from flaring. Just read on below to find out how:

1. Stay Cool

The key to surviving summer as an asthmatic is to avoid inhaling scorching air. Stay away from hot and humid weather by staying indoors and spend the hottest times of the day in an air-conditioned space.

2. Drink Water

Hydration is key to reducing asthma significantly. Water will thin out the mucus, clearing the lungs and making it much easier to breathe. If you can’t afford to spend your day inside the house, remember to bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.

3. Plan and Prepare

The heat won’t be able to catch you off guard if you have a game plan in place! Before going outside, make sure to check the Pollen Count and the Air Quality Health Index in your area to determine whether it’s safe to go outside or not.

If you’re going outdoors, bring everything you need just in case you experience asthma symptoms—always have your reliever medication on hand no matter the weather because you never know what can happen.

4. Know Your Limits

Many asthmatics tend to suffer during the summer because they don’t realize when they’re over-exerting themselves. Exercising and hanging out with friends is alright, as long as you make sure that you know how much you can handle. 

5. Seek Medical Help

Before summer arrives, make sure to have a chat with your doctor about your asthma treatment, especially when you know your asthma is worse during the warmer months. If you’re facing a heatwave and feel like your symptoms can’t be dealt with alone, don’t hesitate to visit a walk-in clinic for urgent care.

Conclusion

Just like other seasons, summer isn’t perfect, and it has its unpleasant characteristics. Some may find it easy to overlook or adapt to the heat and humidity during the warmer months. 

Still, others find it much more challenging to adapt to summer, especially when they have health conditions such as asthma. Keep our tips in mind so that you can survive summer asthma and have and enjoy the season as much as you can!

If you need emergency medical care for your asthma, just visit Aspen Medical Center! You can make an urgent care appointment to decrease wait times or simply walk in to be seen. Our clinic locations in Santa Fe and Espanola are open seven days a week to address your urgent health concerns. Check-in online today!

aches and pain

5 Health Risks Due to Pandemic-Induced Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity has always been regarded to have serious implications for people’s health, according to the World Health Organization. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, people were essentially forced to stay inside their homes which may have encouraged some people to lead sedentary lifestyles. This led to what experts call “pandemic-induced physical inactivity” as the lockdown restrictions reduced public access to physical activity opportunities like visiting gyms, public parks, pools, and sports centers.

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for a lot of conditions. The problem is, many people are not aware of those risks. So, how exactly does an inactive lifestyle affect your body? Let’s enumerate some of the risks:

Chronic Health Problems

Failing to exercise can contribute to the development of chronic medical conditions. According to a report released by the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of disease and disability around the world. The worst part is, these could be chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

We are currently in a waiting game in terms of vaccinations for COVID-19, which means many people are still stuck in their homes, with very little motivation to go out and exercise. These conditions could actually lead to some people developing mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Obesity and Weight Issues

Maintaining an optimal weight during the pandemic can be quite a challenge. With very limited choices of retailers, grocery stores, and food service establishments, staying healthy and active was difficult, to say the least. As such, people resorted to eating less healthy options while others ate whatever was available to survive the lengthy lockdowns. That combined with the lack of exercise leads to obesity and weight issues, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Weight problems are also associated with reduced quality of life and poorer mental health.

Increased Risk of Osteoporosis

One of the lesser-known risks associated with an inactive lifestyle is developing bone problems. Osteoporosis, a chronic health condition where the bones of the body get thinner and more brittle, is linked with a lack of exercise. With most of the population spending hours upon hours sitting behind a desk and working from home, the probability of developing osteoporosis is at an all-time high. This is further compounded by the fact that some people in a remote working setup tend to work longer hours as the boundary between home and work is blurred.

Chronic Aches and Pains

As mentioned above, working long hours behind a computer is bound to cause some detrimental effects to an individual. Lower back pain, stiff neck, and nerve compression due to awkward postures are just some of the possible risks when living a sedentary lifestyle. According to a large population study published by the National Institute of Health, physically active individuals are less likely to develop chronic pain.

Mental Health Problems

As the uncertainty and insolation brought about by the COVID-19 lockdowns take a toll on many individuals, the risks of having mental health problems are that much higher now than ever. Add to that is the physical inactivity that was also the result of the pandemic. This increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems associated with spending more than a year of inactivity. 

Conclusion

With all the risks associated with physical inactivity listed above, you should understand just how crucial it is for you to find ways to stay active and healthy. As most countries expect to get their vaccinations within the next few months and beyond, this is the perfect time to devise ways to bring back your active lifestyle.

For more health-promoting tips and articles, check out Aspen Medical Center’s blog. We are the only locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe, NM, offering a range of services, including vaccinations, sports physicals, and urgent care services. Whenever you need help from a primary care doctor and other specialists, contact Aspen Medical Center. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

pain

Everything About Chronic Pain: From Definition to Management

Everyone has felt pain at least once in their life. From light bruising to intense stinging pain, most people can describe what it feels. There are also people who live in constant pain that a pill or a day of rest won’t be able to solve what they’re feeling. These people are living with conditions that sprout chronic pain, something that’s a lot more common than you think.

What Is Chronic Pain?

As the name suggests, chronic pain is a discomfort that can come and go no matter what you do. Some people experience this on a daily basis because of inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. This pain can last for weeks, months, or years.  

Is Chronic Pain Just a State of Mind?

Not exactly. 

While pain signals do come from the nerves, which are controlled by the brain, it is not like people can just stop thinking about the pain. The feeling and sensation are all real and won’t go away out of wishful thinking. Some people have pre-existing conditions where chronic pain is just one of the symptoms to go through.

What Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can stem from different sources for patients. Here are some of those conditions:

Aging

One reason for chronic pain may be aging. As the body and bones degenerate as we get older, some people will start to feel it. One common condition that people may get is osteoporosis, which is when the bone density starts to weaken from the inside, making people more vulnerable to fractures.

Autoimmune Diseases

Other reasons for chronic pain are autoimmune diseases. The body needs the immune system to protect the body from harm. When someone is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it means that their own immunity system is damaging the healthy cells of their body. Here are just a few autoimmune diseases that cause chronic pain:

Diabetes Type 1

Diabetes type 1 is the kind of diabetes that someone is usually born with, in contrast with the acquired diabetes type 2. Autoimmunity affects the pancreas, destroying the cells that help produce insulin for the body. People with type 1 diabetes have reported experiencing back pain and neuropathy pain. 

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects all of the organs in the body and often manifests redness in the skin. Patients with lupus experience chronic joint pain, rashes, and fatigue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause small bones to fuse over time. People who have this will report back and neck pain that runs through their bodies.

How to Manage Chronic Pain

Before anything else, get yourself checked by a professional. If you may have any life-threatening conditions, you will need a diagnosis.

Once you know what you have (or don’t have), you can try physiotherapy to help ease the pain through various techniques.

Conclusion

Living with chronic pain is definitely not easy. It is debilitating to do your everyday tasks and feel constant discomfort when you shift your body or move around. There are things you can do to alleviate the pain, like stretching and going to physiotherapy. However, if it is unbearable, the first way to go about it is to visit a medical professional to diagnose you properly.

If you find yourself in great pain and in need of urgent care, visit Aspen Medical Center, a locally owned medical facility and walk-in clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. We offer urgent care services to help you find the source of your extreme discomfort and help you alleviate it. Get checked for your pain today. 

What is Dermoscopy

Dermoscopy is performed with a handheld instrument called a dermatoscope. It is a noninvasive powerful tool used in the screening and detection of skin cancer.

Dermoscopy is mainly used to evaluate pigmented lesions in order to distinguish malignant skin lesions. These lesions can be melanoma, pigmented BCC from benign melanocytic naevi, and seborrheic keratosis.

Several studies have demonstrated that dermoscopy is useful in the identification of melanoma when used by experts. It may be up to 35% more accurate than clinical diagnosis. In addition, it may reduce the number of benign lesions excised.

Dermoscopy has also been proven beneficial in diagnosing and managing a myriad of other skin disorders ranging from inflammatory conditions, hair diseases, to infestations.

At Aspen Medical Center we perform full skin cancer screening exams. We are committed to detecting skin cancer at the earliest possible stage while avoiding unnecessary biopsies.

Our dermoscopy specialist, Gina Ortiz, PAC, MPAS, attended the American Dermoscopy Meeting in Big Sky, Montana during 2018. In addition to further training at the UNM Skin Cancer Center.

Gina will continue to refine her skills by attending the American Dermoscopy meeting this July in Colorado Springs.

woman coughing

Cold vs. Allergies: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

If you’ve ever had a runny nose in the middle of summer, you’ve probably always wondered if it is indeed a cold caused by a viral upper respiratory infection or just seasonal allergies. Both conditions have very similar symptoms, and it’s easy to mistake one for the other. The question is, what’s the difference between colds and allergies? With help from a local primary care doctor, we try to answer what the common cold and seasonal allergies are and how you can tell one from the other.

What Are Summer Colds?

The common cold is caused by any one of hundreds of different viruses that attack the upper respiratory system. You’ve probably heard of rhinovirus, which is just one category of viruses that are one of the leading causes of the common cold. There are hundreds of different strains of rhinovirus that cause colds, but catching a specific strain of the virus could actually help you produce immunity to that particular strain. 

Compared to seasonal allergies, colds are upper respiratory infections that could happen to you all year round but are more prevalent in the colder months. Colds aren’t caused by cold climates or exposure to cold air. Some of the common symptoms of colds include:

  • Body Aches and Pains
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat

What Are Summer Allergies?

On the other hand, allergies work in an entirely different way. They can sometimes mimic the effects of a cold, and they’re also very likely to strike in winter. However, they are far more common in spring, summer, and fall because of the proliferation of allergens in the air. 

Allergies are manifestations of the body’s allergic reaction to plant pollens released during the growing season. These allergens are often inhaled into the nasal passages. Once your body detects the presence of these allergens, they will begin the process of ejecting it out of your body through sneezing, resulting in a runny and stuffy nose. Some of the most common symptoms caused by seasonal allergies are:

  • Itchy, Watery Eyes
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Skin Rashes, such as Eczema or Hives
  • Sneezing and or Wheezing

How Is a Summer Allergy Different from a Cold?

The fundamental difference between colds and allergies is that the former results from the body’s immune system combatting a disease-causing virus. The latter, on the other hand, happens when the immune system incorrectly identifies an otherwise harmless protein like pollen, pet dander, or dust.

Allergies typically cause a clear nasal discharge, accompanied by an itchy sensation in the sinuses, ears, eyes, or throat. Sneezing is not uncommon, nor is the feeling of stuffiness in the head. It’s very much possible for your eyes to become red and irritated as a result of an allergic reaction.

According to a primary care physician in Santa Fe, NM, the common cold may provoke certain symptoms that are not shared by allergies, such as sore throat, fever, or body aches. Also, a typical cold will run its course within seven to ten days. However, allergies can last for much longer, depending on what you’re allergic to and what happens to be pollinating. As long as you are exposed to these allergens, you will continue to experience the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Conclusion

Allergies are caused by pollen and other similar allergens floating around in the air, while colds result from a viral infection. Generally speaking, allergies do not cause fever, and they are much more persistent. A cold from a viral infection will last a couple of days until your body has successfully eradicated the virus.

Aspen Medical Center welcomes you to our locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. We offer family urgent care and primary care services to all our clients. If you have any health concerns that need to be addressed, let our urgent care specialists examine them for you. Contact us today to set an appointment.

needles

What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine This Flu Season

Flu may seem like a common disease, but it can sometimes be serious, contagious, and life-threatening. Influenza is so much more than that. Depending on your circumstances, you could get a high fever, profound body aches, serious fatigue, and so on. 

It may not be a problem for young and healthy people, but the situation can be complex for young children and older adults. The worst thing about the flu is how quickly the illness evolves. It should not be taken lightly.

Luckily, there are many ways to protect people from the flu these days. The seasonal flu vaccine may be innocuous but it saves many lives every year. If you are curious how the seasonal flu vaccine works, here is some vital information you should know:

How Does Flu Vaccine Work? 

Similar to other vaccines, the flu vaccine works by triggering a person’s immune response and creating a defense against disease-causing pathogens. When a person develops antibodies against a particular disease, these antibodies can fight against and provide protection from the virus. 

As mentioned earlier, different kinds of flu become contagious depending on the season. 

Researchers predict what flu virus would be more active during a particular period and produce the specific vaccine to defend against it.

In the US, there is a vaccine that fights four kinds of flu viruses (quadrivalent). This flu vaccine is meant to fight the following viruses:

  • The Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  • The Influenza A (H3N2) virus
  • Two Influenza B viruses

Another one can fight three different flu viruses, called the trivalent. It can kill the following viruses: 

  • The Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  • The Influenza A (H3N2) virus
  • One of the two Influenza B viruses

Persons aged six months and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccine every year. Keep in mind, however, that the antibodies work after two weeks, so schedule your flu shot before the flu season—ideally, by the end of October.

The Types of Flu Vaccines You Would Encounter

Here are some essential things you need to know about the available vaccines:

The Trivalent Flu Shot

This flu vaccine is made from three ingredients approved for people aged 65 and above. It also comes with an adjuvant, an element that helps the body build a more robust immune response.

The Quadrivalent Flu Shot

This flu shot is made from four ingredients, and it can be used for people of different age groups, particularly those six months and older. Here are some common ones you might encounter: 

  • FluMist Quadrivalent: Good for people aged two to 49 years old; not ideal for pregnant people, immunocompromised persons, and the like
  • Flucelvax Quadrivalent: Recommended for people four years old and above
  • Flublok Quadrivalent: Approved for people 18 years and older
  • Quadrivalent Flu Shot Using an Adjuvant: Best for people aged 65 years and older
  • Fluzone High-Dose: Also recommended for people aged 65 years and older

Conclusion

Both the trivalent and the quadrivalent influenza vaccines are generally available in clinics and hospitals. Before choosing one, make sure that the vaccine you would receive is appropriate for your age and health. The vaccines should also be labeled suitable for a particular period. For example, in today’s time, the products you would encounter are the influenza vaccine products for the 2020 to 2021 season. 

Get your flu shots every year from a trusted clinic. Aspen Medical Center is a provider of state-of-the-art urgent care and primary care in Sta. Fe. We offer immunization services as one of our essential primary care services. If you need one, call us today at 505-466-5885 to book an appointment. 

doctors accessories

In Case of Emergency: Our Guide to Seeking Urgent Care

Urgent care centers function differently from doctor’s clinics and even emergency rooms, and some people aren’t familiar with their services. Urgent care centers and walk-in clinics provide treatment for patients with conditions that require immediate attention but are not life-threatening. They also cover other medical services such as X-rays, lab exams, and even vaccinations.

Here are some things you should know before seeking urgent care:

1. Don’t Wait for an Emergency

Health emergencies of any kind can be incredibly stressful, and it can be difficult to make level-headed decisions if you or someone in your household is in need of immediate medical attention. This is why it’s important to know a local urgent care center before you get sick or injured.

Look up all the urgent care centers in your area and choose one that accepts your health insurance. It should ideally be a center that provides general care. If you have children, you should also locate a pediatric urgent care center in your back pocket. List down the names of these facilities and their addresses, contact information, and operating hours. Keep this list near your phone or in a common area so everyone in your house can refer to it during emergencies.  

2. Try to Call First

Most urgent care centers accept walk-in patients, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, many social distancing protocols can complicate this. If you can, call your local urgent care center before coming in. Medical personnel will screen you via phone call and advise the best time for you to come in.

Even without the pandemic, it’s still best practice to call ahead and ask about the wait time to see a health care provider. If the center doesn’t allow appointments, you will still have a better idea of how busy it is and how long you have to wait before getting treatment. In addition, some urgent care centers allow online check-ins for patients. Providing all your information before dropping by will also help streamline the treatment process.

3. Bring Important Documents

Unlike clinics and hospitals, urgent care centers don’t carry extensive medical records. Even if you’ve been to their facility once or twice before, they still may not have a file on your medical history to treat your condition.

Make sure to take note of all your medical information before you go to urgent care. This includes your prescription medication, previous medical diagnoses, and your primary care physician’s name and contact information. Of course, it’s important to bring your health insurance information, too. You also need at least one photo ID to verify your identity.

When to Skip Urgent Care and Go to the ER Instead

Urgent care centers can help treat simple urgent health concerns. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, they are best evaluated at a hospital emergency room:

  • Severe head injury or trauma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Signs of stroke (weakness, confusion, loss of vision, difficulty speaking)
  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe burns
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Open fractures
  • Fever in a one-month-old infant or younger

Conclusion

Urgent care centers are convenient options to receive medical treatment for non-life-threatening symptoms and conditions. Remember to bring all pertinent identification and medical documentation with you as well. Most importantly, identify which locations can handle and treat you for shorter wait times and to ensure your safety.

At Aspen Medical Center, we provide efficient, compassionate, and high-quality urgent care services for you and your family. Our clinic locations in Santa Fe and Espanola are open seven days a week to address your urgent health concerns. Please call ahead at 505-466-5885 for patient screening.

ankle sprain

4 Effective Tips for Avoiding Sprains and Injuries

There are very few injuries that will lead you to require urgent care faster than a sprain. Indeed, sprains can be quite severe and painful, especially if they happen in far-flung places where it will be difficult for you to receive medical attention. Considering that summer is close and many of you likely have plans to go hiking or mountain climbing, it would be in your best interest to prepare and try to mitigate any risk of injury.

But how do you go about doing this? To help you out, we’ve prepared a list of four tips that will help you avoid sprains and other injuries:

Warm-up Before Engaging in Physical Activities

The thing that you have to understand about muscles is that they take some time to warm up, especially for underutilized muscles. However, failing to warm up properly can cause some major issues, as the muscles will be more prone to straining. A good way to think about it is to compare it to a rubber band. Rubber, when frozen, is stiff and is more prone to snapping. This is why you need to warm your muscles up before any extraneous physical activities.

Now, you don’t have to do anything too extreme to warm your muscles up. Simply engaging in gentle stretching before any physical activities will go a long way when it comes to minimizing the risk of accruing any injuries.

Wear the Right Shoes

Aside from stretching, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re dressed appropriately. Slipping and falling is a common cause of many injuries. This is why you’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes when engaging in physical activities. If you’re going on a hike, it will be best to wear hiking boots that provide your ankles with support and have tread that will prevent you from slipping.

Provide Extra Support 

Now, it’s important to note that protecting your feet isn’t just about shoes. While shoes are important, there are other pieces of equipment that can provide you with the support that you need. For example, using things like a brace or ankle tape will also be useful when it comes to preventing sprains and injuries. This is because they provide you with extra support while you’re engaged in physical activities to avoid the risks of sprains.

Build Up Strength

An excellent preventive technique for injuries is to strengthen your muscles through regular exercise. By building up muscle strength, you give yourself a stronger base and will make it easier for you to stay on your feet and control sudden changes in body position. While it may seem trivial, this can be the difference between a minor scratch and a trip to the emergency room. Exercises like squats, lunges, and dips will be the key to strengthening your muscles.

Conclusion

We hope the tips we’ve shared above prove to be useful in helping you avoid any unnecessary injuries and sprains. When it comes to preventing sprains, the most important thing to do is prepare as much as possible. Accidents do happen, and injuries can often be unavoidable, but there are always things that you can do to minimize the risk!

If you are searching for an urgent care center in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center is your best choice. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to ensure that you are well taken care of. For more information on our services or to book an appointment, contact us today at 505-657-1799!

physician

3 Primary Care Physician Myths You Should Stop Believing

Seeing a primary care physician is a great way to prevent, treat, and diagnose various medical issues. They provide comprehensive medical solutions for chronic conditions and initial executive checkups to make sure you are healthy. Despite knowing these facts, most patients are propagating false information that affects those in need of these healthcare provisions. Worse, it leaves them most susceptible to diseases like COVID-19, diabetes, and more. 

Protecting yourself and others from misinformation on primary care is necessary to ensuring access to medical services for all and addressing immediate-to-long-term health problems. It is just as important as finding the right provider near you. To ensure all these needs are met, consider the following common primary care physician debunked myths: 

Myth #1: You should only call your primary care provider when someone is sick and needs further medical attention 

Most individuals feel that they only need to see a doctor when they are sick and need extra assistance. However, remember that there can be times when you don’t feel sick yet, but it only means that the symptoms are not fully developed. You also need checkups, vaccinations, physicals, and other related processes to keep your health and well-being in check, which is what your primary care physician is trained to provide. 

By getting primary care, it ensures that your medical history, lifestyle, and perceived medical risks are all accounted for, guaranteeing protection against diseases. It can lead to more savings on hospital costs and other treatments because of your more resilient health. Most importantly, it can provide a happier, longer life! 

Myth #2: Any healthcare professional can offer primary care, so finding a primary care physician near you is not necessary

One of the most common mistakes most patients make is that they believe any healthcare specialist is just as trained to give primary care, so seeing a physician is unnecessary. However, they are completely misinformed. The truth is primary care physicians undergo internal medical and family practice residence for three years. They also have to pass an intensive examination to be licensed in their respective states to practice medicine. 

In a clinical setting, primary care physicians take the lead alongside nurses and other supporting medical staff in overseeing medical testing, medication, preventive care, and other related procedures. You can only get this kind of assistance from certified providers nearby. So, ensure you find a reliable one nearby, get yourself and your loved ones checked, and enjoy positive wellness despite these challenging times. 

Myth #3: You don’t need to reach out to your primary care physician during emergencies 

Did you know that your primary care physician can actually be in a better position to handle emergency processes than most urgent care providers? It is because they know your bodily conditions by compiling a comprehensive medical record of perceived risks and preexisting internal or external issues. While it does not mean you shouldn’t go for urgent medical care when needed, it is best to contact your primary care doctor during emergencies. They will relay relevant information about you, offer better treatment, and mitigate further health complications. 

Conclusion 

Primary care is one of the most important medical solutions to a better quality of life. Avoiding false information about it can help ensure you and others around you can get the immediate attention needed. Remember all the debunked myths mentioned above and connect with medical professionals like us! 

Are you looking for the best primary care physicians in Santa Fe? Visit the Aspen Medical Center. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to keep your health and well-being in check through vaccinations, physicals, and more. Book your appointment with us today by contacting us at (505) 466-5885. 

vaccine

Be Vaccinated: Everything You Need to Know About Immunization

There have been a lot of arguments surrounding immunization. Some don’t believe in it, while many others encourage it. But how important is immunization, really?

What Is Immunization?

Let’s define immunization first. Immunization is the process where people are protected against illnesses caused by infection. A vaccine is the material used for immunization, which contains an agent that resembles the disease-causing bacteria. It is made from the toxins that killed or weakened the microorganism. 

When the vaccine is injected into the body, the immune system recognizes the agent and destroys it. So, when the actual microbe attacks you, it will keep you safe against the disease. 

How Important Is Vaccination?

There are many benefits to immunization. For one, getting vaccinated is a lot cheaper than getting treated for diseases when it comes to the costs. Also, vaccination doesn’t only protect you but also the community. 

Immunization is highly recommended in children and adults. How will it help your kids? 

  • It will help protect your children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases that may include amputation, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
  • It helps prevent diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough. 

Kids who are not vaccinated have a huge chance of spreading the disease to other children who might be too young to get vaccinated. Other than that, they can spread the disease to adults with a weak immune system. 

When it comes to vaccines for children, they’re only given following a thorough review by experts, which takes a long time. 

Now, how does vaccination help adults? Like the benefits to children, immunization in adults will also help protect themselves and the community from diseases.

At times, vaccination will depend on several factors, such as: 

  • Age
  • Health conditions
  • Travel plans
  • Personal vaccination record

Some of the available vaccinations for adults are:

  • Swine flu
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Tetanus 
  • Pneumonia

What Are the Necessary Travel Vaccinations?

Besides the usual vaccinations for kids and adults, there are also travel vaccinations necessary. In certain countries, you will be asked to get vaccinated, such as the yellow fever vaccine, which is administered when traveling to African countries. 

If you travel to the US or European countries, you will also need to have vaccinations against typhoid, tuberculosis, and meningococcal meningitis. 

What About People Who Can’t Be Vaccinated?

There are some people who can’t be vaccinated because they may either be too young or sick. You can help protect them by keeping you and your loved ones’ vaccinations up-to-date. 

Indeed, immunization is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and future generations from infectious diseases. With vaccination, it can wipe out diseases that could spread in the present and future. 

You’re not only looking after your family when you get vaccinated; you are also helping protect the vulnerable people in your community. The more people are vaccinated, the fewer people will be infected. In turn, the less widely a disease will spread. 

Conclusion

Immunization plays an even bigger role in our communities today. Now that you know how important it is, make sure you don’t miss a vaccine. Not only will you save your life, but others as well. 

Get your vaccinations here at Aspen Medical Center. We provide primary care and urgent care services to patients of all ages in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. Check in online today!

doctor

5 Tips to Help You Find the Right Primary Care Physician

When it comes to reaching peak overall health, it will pay to work with the right primary care physician. These are doctors who help their patients reach the best and highest quality of life by administering various types of health maintenance and promotion methods. 

The services of a primary care physician include disease prevention, counseling, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic disease and patient education strategies in periodic intervals and checkups. These doctors may aid patients in making crucial health decisions that are aimed at reaching peak health and wellbeing.

Knowing all that a primary care physician can do for your health makes it all the more important to choose the right one to be your healthcare ally. However, it may be easier said than done to find one to suit your health needs if you are gazing down a long faceless list of names. As you prepare to narrow down this list, here are a few considerations to think about when you schedule an over-the-phone or face-to-face consultation with your selected physician:

How to Find the Right Primary Care Physician for You

1 – Consider Which Doctors Are in Your Network

Look into which doctors in your area will be covered by your healthcare plan. Your plan will help you keep your health status up while keeping costs down in the process. If you do not have any health care insurance, it is best to find a doctor that offers an affordable package that will not have you breaking the bank in order to stay healthy.

2 – Do Your Family and Friends Have Any Recommendations?

It is also important to get the input of your family and friends. Ask them if they can recommend any primary care physicians to you based on positive experiences of their own.

3 – How Easy Is It to Get Hold of This Doctor?

When you will need an emergency consult, will the doctor you are choosing be available to see you? How accessible are they via phone? It is important to consider these factors, especially when you will need medical advice in an emergency.

4 – Where Will Diagnostics Tests Take Place?

Speaking of accessibility, it is important to note where you will be taking your diagnostics tests, should you ever need them. Choosing a physician that has a conveniently-located clinic will prove to be useful, especially when you will need to have multiple tests done at one time.

5 – The Proximity of Their Clinic

Lastly, it is important to find a doctor that has a clinic that has a clinic that is easily reachable. Although it is somewhat impossible to find a doctor who has a clinic that is right next door to where you live, you want to find one that is fairly close.

Conclusion

While all doctors may be skilled in their own right, finding a primary care physician to help you reach peak health is a personal decision. Looking into the circumstances and individual pros and cons of each doctor you are considering will help you decide which one you should choose.

If you are looking for a good primary care physician in Santa Fe, you can get access to primary care and all your other medical needs at Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola NM offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Call 505-466-5885 to book an appointment.

doctor

Pap Smear: When Should or Shouldn’t You Get One

Pap smear or cervical smear is a test done to screen for any abnormal cells in the cervix. This test can also determine any vaginal infections or inflammation that the patient should be concerned about. However, the main reason for getting a Pap smear is to screen for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer has been the most prevalent type of cancer that caused death in women in the US. But thanks to Pap smear tests, the number of cervical cancer cases has significantly declined since it had been made available in the 1950s. This is why early detection of cancer, which is what Pap smears are for, can increase one’s chances of getting cured!

If you are between the ages of 21 and 69, it is recommended that you get regular Pap smears at your local family medical clinic. But there are circumstances when a test is not necessary. Here’s how to know when you should get a Pap smear and when you don’t have to:

When Is It Acceptable to Not Get a Pap Smear?

Pap smears may not be necessary if you are considered low risk for cervical cancer. For instance, if you are below 21 years old, whether you are sexually active or not, the risk for cervical cancer is very low. Any abnormal cell presence often returns to normal even without treatment.

The same goes if you are over the age of 69 and you have had regular Pap smears in the past and got normal results. The tests are also no longer necessary if you had your cervix removed during a hysterectomy procedure. However, if you had a hysterectomy because of the existence of pre-cancer or cancer cells in your cervix, you may still need to get the test.

When Do You Need a Pap Test?

Your need for a Pap test and its frequency depends on several factors, including your age and your risks.

If you are between the ages of 21 and 29, it is recommended that you get a Pap test at least once every three years, especially if you are sexually active. The same goes for women aged 30 to 69 years old. Likewise, your doctor may recommend an HPV test every five years, or you can still get tested for both.

It is also recommended for pregnant women to get tested. It is typically done in the early stages of pregnancy because it would be best to get it treated immediately before any conditions worsen if there is any abnormality. Note that the Pap smear should be done before you reach the sixth month of pregnancy. Then, you shouldn’t have a test done until 12 weeks have passed since you gave birth.

How to Ensure That Your Pap Smear Is Accurate?

Pap smear results can come back as unsatisfactory, which could mean that:

  • There was an error in the test administration.
  • The cells couldn’t be adequately evaluated because of the presence of mucus or blood.
  • There were not enough cervical cells to do an accurate test.

To prevent an unsatisfactory test result, you should get tested at least five days after the last day of your period. And then, 48 hours prior to your test, you shouldn’t have intercourse or use tampons, douches, vaginal creams, lubricants, and other vaginal products.

Conclusion

Pap smears are one of the most important tests that women should get, together with a mammogram and colonoscopy. It’s always better to get tested early on so that you can get the peace of mind that you are healthy. Even if the test comes back and it turns out there are cancerous cells, it’s still a good thing that you can detect it sooner rather than later as this will increase the chance of defeating cancer.

You are responsible for your health, so make sure that you get necessary tests like Pap smears from your primary care physician.

If you want to get your Pap smear done, be sure to visit your trusted family care clinic in Santa Fe, NM. At Aspen Medical Clinic, our physicians will always care for your well-being so that you can live a happy and healthy life. Contact us today to schedule your test appointment!

woman doctor

4 Key Medical Appointments You Must Schedule in 2021

Over the past year, health has truly become a priority for everyone. Gone are the days when being healthy only held true for the younger generation. Thanks to technology, senior citizens also no longer have to plan their bucket list around the average lifespan in the US. 

Nevertheless, this is not to say that you can neglect your routine medical checkups. For the most part, many people usually see their doctors when it’s already too late, but you must always remember that prevention is better than cure. Besides, the COVID-19 crisis has compelled people to always take good care of their health, which is why you must not forget to attend your regular checkups.

In this article, we will share four important medical appointments you need to plan for in 2021:

1. With a Primary Care Doctor

Sure, you may only be visiting your primary physician when you aren’t feeling well. But did you know that you must visit your physician at least once a year? Your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine the condition of your health and assess your medical history. If your physician sees any red flags, you will be asked to get some tests such as lab work or imaging service. From there, they’ll determine whether or not you need to get some medical treatments to treat your situation.

2. With an Eye Doctor

The general rule of thumb is to see your eye doctor once a year or every two years. Of course, you need to see one as soon as you’re having some eye problems. During your eye check, keep in mind that the expert will check for signs of the four common diseases. These eye conditions include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, which are more likely to develop after the age of 40. This is when routine checkups for early prevention become extremely necessary!

3. With a Gynecologist 

Women need to see their gynecologist every six months to once a year. Regardless of sexual activities, they must begin seeing their doctors as early as the age of 21. During a routine appointment, your gynecologist will require you to get a Pap smear, a pelvic exam, and a breast exam to look for any signs of illnesses. At the same time, you must inform your doctor about your overall health and bring up any irregularities in your period. You also have to be honest about your sexual activities and any concerns about your reproductive system.

4. With a Radiologist (Mammogram)

It’s essential to visit a radiologist to undergo a mammogram. If your family has a history of breast cancer, you must consider doing this checkup at least once a year. This is because women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have a higher risk. You will also need to have genetic testing, particularly if your family member has a history of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer. This genetic testing will require your blood or saliva sample sent to a lab for analysis, and you will receive the result in about a month. 

Conclusion

At this point, we’ve covered four key medical appointments you must make in 2021—primary care physician, eye doctor, gynecologist, and radiologist. While these four appointments are basic checkups, you must still consider your family and medical history to acknowledge which areas require a serious check. Ultimately, these preventive medical appointments may very well save your future—have that checkup today, and your body will thank you tomorrow!

Are you looking for reliable primary care and urgent care? You’ve come to the right place. We’re a locally owned outpatient medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care services and an urgent care center. As your health is our top priority, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

covid test

Healthcare Advice: How Urgent Should COVID-19 Testing be

All the news about vaccination programs can be harmful to the public, especially in states and regions that are still struggling with a surge in cases. For people who have not been vaccinated yet, it’s important to observe precautionary measures whenever interacting with individuals outside their household.

Limitation in testing efforts have been due to the shortage of equipment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A year into the pandemic, more local and state health departments are more equipped to handle the influx of patients who want to receive COVID-19 testing. Because of this, it’s not an individual’s initiative to know whether they should get tested or not.

Getting COVID-19 testing due to the rise of new COVID-19 variants

 Besides being a mandatory requirement for official procedures and transactions, getting tested for COVID-19 becomes tricky if you’re unsure of your exposure to the virus. Effective testing is necessary not just for yourself but also for others’ safety. Unfortunately, the recent surge in COVID-19 variants can make it dangerous to get tested unless you’re sure you need one.

Thankfully, the CDC has adjusted its recommendations on who should receive COVID-19 testing. Besides people showcasing symptoms of COVID0-19 with a healthcare provider’s recommendation, asymptomatic patients can get tested if they’ve been exposed to people with a confirmed condition. This revised guideline helps your local community reinforce contact tracing methods since it’s vital to rack asymptomatic and pre-asymptomatic transmission. In turn, this allows authorities to document and notify necessary communities.

Deciding when to get COVID-19 testing

Due to the fluctuating incubation period of COVID-19 infection, there’s no direct time that defines when you should get COVID-19 testing. In most cases, a person with the virus can test positive for up to five days at most after contracting it. For this reason, you could test negative for the first three days of infection before COVID-19 symptoms start to manifest. Since it takes three to five days for symptoms to develop, the CDC notes that it’s best to be cautious with engaging with individuals outside your household for up to 14 days.

Receiving results from your COVID-19 test

Many patients can get their test results within 24 hours. However, this largely depends on the healthcare facilities’ capacity at the time. At worst, it may take two weeks before you can receive the results of your test. This is why it’s vital for individuals suspected of having COVID-19 avoid interacting with others or leaving their household whenever possible. During a self-isolation period of two weeks with no noticeable symptoms, it may be safe to assume that you’re free from COVID-19 or didn’t have it at all. However, the line separating the two can be the difference between being a threat to yourself and others.

Different cities and states have unique testing systems, which is why it might be easier or harder to schedule a COVID-19 test. It’s best to consult with your local authorities and healthcare providers to get a clear timeline of your wait time and expected appointment in light of recent events.

Conclusion

Vaccination is only part of the nation’s healing process, and it doesn’t replace the value of getting tested for COVID-19. For this reason, it’s necessary for unvaccinated individuals, and even vaccinated ones, to remain cautious of their actions and interactions with others. Determining your need to visit a reliable healthcare center should be your priority if you’re developing symptoms of any illnesses.

Aspen Medical Center is a locally-owned outpatient medical facility that offers state-of-the-art services for your healthcare needs. If you need to receive immediate COVID testing in Santa Fe, contact our office today.

doctor with a stethoscope

Signs It’s Time to Set an Appointment and See Your Doctor

If you have a medical emergency, it’s easy to decide to go to the doctor. Usually, you can prevent these emergencies altogether by just going a little earlier, though you may be unaware of subtler signs. Here is a list of reasons why you might need to go to the doctor right now:

Cough and Colds

Cough and colds are a sign of infection that most people ignore. This is because they can be mistaken for an allergic reaction or just a sign of a weak illness that will easily pass. There are instances wherein colds can stand for something more serious, though. If your colds don’t go away over time or downright worsen, go to a doctor. Long periods of congestion can lead to infection at various levels of severity. 

Also, if your cough lasts more than two weeks, that may be whooping cough, which needs medical attention. Even if your cough and colds aren’t so bad but are accompanied by other symptoms, that could be an indicator of a serious infection. 

For example, if you have a fever and/or muscle aches, you may have the flu. If you are in your senior years, an expectant mother, or have a history of heart disease, you should be extra careful. Also, if you have extreme difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or shortness of breath, you should definitely see a doctor as these are not normal cold symptoms. Nausea that leads to continuous vomiting should also be noted here. If that’s the case, you may need to get an IV to help hydrate and nourish your body.

Fever

A fever can just be a normal way your body fights infection. Similar to a cold, it doesn’t have to be an indicator of something more serious. In certain cases, such as if your fever is above 103˚ Fahrenheit (39.4˚ Celsius) or lasts more than three days, it could mean that you are about to be very sick and need to see a primary care doctor. 

Sudden Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss could indicate an overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease, and a number of other larger issues. It could even be a sign of something dangerously fatal, like cancer. In general, if you’ve lost 10% or more of your body weight in six months, seeing a doctor can save your life.

Severe Pain in Certain Areas

Extreme, sustained pain in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis can mean severe illnesses, so you should have yourself checked. Enduring pains in the chest area could mean a heart attack. Pain in the abdomen, especially if accompanied by nausea and vomiting, could be gallstones. When your pain is concentrated in the pelvis area, that could be appendicitis.

Change in Bowel Movement or Urination

Look for a sudden change in your bowel movement’s pattern. If you see things like bloody stools, diarrhea, constipation, or excessive urination, then you should probably consult your doctor.

Concussion Symptoms

If you’ve suffered a hit to the head, check yourself for signs of a concussion. See if you have any increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, or headaches. Any of these could be a sign that you have a concussion and should thus see your doctor.

Conclusion

This list of symptoms that could be signs that you should seek medical attention is small and incomplete. This is just a starting point of the most common reasons, but there are many more. Monitor your body closely to get an accurate picture of your health, and see your primary care physician if there are any problems.

Looking for a medical clinic in Santa Fe? Contact Aspen Medical Center today! We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services.

Seasonal Allergies

Overview and Allergy Symptoms

Chamisa, Mulberry, Pig Weed, Cedar and Juniper Allergies

allergies

An allergy is the body’s overreaction to substances that do not cause a reaction in someone who is not allergic.  These substances are called allergens.  There are many different types of allergens including mold, animal dander, dust, pollen from trees, grass, and weeds like chamisa, mulberry, pig weed, cedar and juniper.

An allergic reaction to pollen is a seasonal allergy and can be called hay fever or allergic rhinitis.  Allergy symptoms include runny nose, itching, and nasal congestion.  Seasonal allergies will affect people at the time of year when certain pollens are at their highest levels.

Continue reading

Seasonal Flu or Influenza Symptoms and Treatment

Influenza or “the flu” is a contagious viral respiratory infection.  It is spread from person to person and can cause mild to severe symptoms.  Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly and often include:  fever over 102°F, stuffy nose, nausea, chills and sweats, fatigue, muscle aches, cough, headache, and loss of appetite.  Flu symptoms usually last for one to two weeks.

Coughs are one of the most common symptoms of childhood illness and should not be confused with the flu. Although a cough can sound awful, it’s not usually a sign of a serious condition as long as they do not “whoop” after prolonged episodes of coughing or having fits of coughing that are so severe that they can’t stop to catch their breath. Continue reading