Physician

How Will You Find the Right Primary Care Physician for You?

Primary care physicians are the backbone of most healthcare systems. They provide a wide variety of services but bear the lion’s share of responsibility for care coordination, which means that their impact goes far beyond the provision of a few services. 

Deciding to choose a new primary care physician is a big decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. To help increase the likelihood of finding a practitioner who meets your needs and wants, here are some tips:

Know “In-Network” Doctors

A lot of health plans come with negotiated special, discounted rates with specific doctors and hospitals in a particular area. In that case, you will pay less for visiting these “in-network” doctors. When you choose an in-network doctor, you can guarantee that the doctor accepts your insurance plan. 

Choose a Doctor With Expertise That Meets Your Specific Needs

Different doctors specialize in various types of medicine. Some specialize in a specific ailment, while others are only proficient in certain age groupings or types of patients. 

For example, you are a young adult needing primary care. In that case, you might consider choosing a doctor who specializes in young adults, who is up-to-date with the latest information on your specific condition, and who is familiar with your kind of body. The more you research your condition, the better you will be at finding a doctor who can give you the best care.

Ask for Referrals from Friends, Family, or Colleagues

A good way to find a doctor is to ask for referrals from people you know and trust. Some people prefer to find a doctor through word of mouth since a lot of office staff—including the doctors—rely on word of mouth to get new customers to visit their office.

Consider the Logistics

Regardless of how great a doctor you have chosen, it may not work out in the end if the office is too far away and if there is a long wait time. You may have to give up some time out of your day to see a doctor, so try to make it as convenient as possible. 

Before you sign up, make sure you can get to the location without hassle, and you can get a timely appointment without too much hassle. Also, make sure you can get an appointment when it is most convenient for you!

Read Reviews on the Doctor

You can also turn to the internet to see what others have written about the doctor. Nowadays, professional doctors and office staff have official websites outlining what they do and if they have any reviews. Other online sites will have reviews on the doctor, as well.

Call the Office and Ask Questions

Before you sign up, call the office and ask a few questions. First of all, make sure that you can get an appointment with the chosen doctor. You can also ask specific questions about how the office operates, what the office hours are like, how much the doctors charge, and the general quality of service you can expect.

The Best Primary Care Physician for You

Finding a new primary care physician is important, and it may take some time to find the right fit. Use these steps to find the right primary care for you. Although it may take some time, it will be worth it.

Aspen Medical Center is a medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Get in touch with us!

covid test

What You Have to Know About “Inconclusive” COVID-19 Test Results

There are several benefits to obtaining a COVID-19 certification. Perhaps you are suffering from flu-like symptoms or have been infected with the virus. If you’re going on vacation or seeing a sick relative, you should consider getting tested for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 test can detect SARS-CoV-2 infection regardless of the purpose for testing. Additionally, they may also work in different ways. However, while a COVID-19 test can help determine whether you are infected, it is not always accurate. Other times, results can be “inconclusive.”

Read on to learn more about “inconclusive” COVID-19 test results, as well as what to do next.

The Fundamentals of COVID-19 Testing

While all COVID-19 tests can help you determine if you have the virus, some are more accurate than others. Although most COVID-19 tests collect nasal mucus, others collect saliva from the mouth or throat.

Viral antigens in your mucus are detected using rapid assays (proteins found on the surface of viruses). Antigen testing, on the other hand, produces results in a couple of minutes (much like a pregnancy test). The latter is less exact and more likely to result in false negatives, meaning a person infected with the virus might have an incorrect negative result.

To detect the virus’s genetic material, COVID-19 PCR, viral RNA, and nucleic acid tests must all be performed. After this process, results may be ready within hours, or even a day or two. Additionally, such false-positive results from these tests are uncommon.

Because of the ease and speed with which antigen testing may be performed, it is still widely employed. If the antigen test results in a negative result, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test should be performed as a confirmatory test. Inconclusive outcomes, on the other hand, are the exception.

The COVID-19 Test Results

COVID-19 tests can yield one of three outcomes:

1. Positive Result

SARS-CoV-2 or antigens were discovered in your mucus sample, depending on the test.

2. Negative Result

Neither of them was discovered at the time.

3. Inconclusive Result

A laboratory’s interpretation of a test result may be incorrect, leaving patients with an inconclusive result. If the laboratory is unable to interpret your test owing to a variety of variables, such as a lack of mucus sample, a new infection, or nearing recovery, your results may be inconclusive.

Steps to Take with An Inconclusive COVID-19 Test Result

Receiving an inconclusive COVID-19 test result is disheartening, given that it provides you and your loved ones no peace of mind. Whatever your purpose for testing for COVID-19, if your results are inconclusive, you should retest.

Following an inconclusive test result, continue to self-isolate or follow quarantine recommendations until you obtain your new test results. You may also speak with your doctor or a local health agency to learn more about what to do if your lab results are unclear.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you’ve recently been exposed to COVID-19 or are having any coronavirus symptoms, the smart thing to do is to isolate and schedule an at-home testing service or at the nearest clinic nearby.

COVID-19 testing is available at a number of pharmacies and clinics. Contact your local health agency for more information on COVID-19 testing. If your flu-like symptoms increase or do not improve, see a doctor.

Additionally, it would be best to seek emergency medical attention if you or someone you know is suffering from breathing problems, chest discomfort, confusion or brain fog, trouble focusing, trouble sleeping, as well as pallid skin, lips, or nail beds.

Conclusion

These signs and symptoms may indicate a medical emergency, but it’s important to note that these are not the only ones that should be addressed. At the age of a pandemic, almost any sickness should be treated immediately. At the same time, continue strengthening your immune system through a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management, among others.
If you need to schedule a PCR test in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center can aid your needs of urgent care. Our experienced medical staff are experts in offering essential primary care designed to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Give us a call today to set an appointment!

man with flu

4 Preventative Measures to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Whenever the cold and flu season is just around the corner, you need to take certain precautions to avoid getting hit with the flu. While you might enjoy most of your nights cozying up indoors with your family and friends, the last thing you want is to spend most of your time feeling awful and curled up with a pile of tissues. This guide offers some tips you can follow to stay healthy and build up your immune system to prepare for the cold and flu season.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is still one of the best defenses against the cold. Instead of eating too many saturated fats, sugar, processed foods, and red meat, it’s better to stock up on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. By eating these types of foods, you can build your immune system to become more robust and responsive. Some of the things you should consider eating include:

  • Selenium-rich foods like chicken, egg yolks, seafood, and whole grains
  • Citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and kiwi for your daily dose of vitamin C
  • Carrots for beta carotene and vitamin A
  • Vitamin-D-rich foods like yogurt and salmon to help you build your immune system
  • Beans, crabs, and turkey meat (dark) for zinc

Get Plenty of Rest and Sleep

If you like staying up late and pulling all-nighters, you may want to refrain from doing that once the flu season hits. Not getting enough puts you at risk of falling ill and weakening your immune system. If you want them to function at their best, you need to get at least seven hours of shut-eye every night. This is because losing some of those hours of sleep can cause inflammatory markers to go up and your immune system function to go down, increasing the likelihood of you getting sick. Since nights are longer during the cold season, take advantage of it and get as much sleep as you can.

Stay Active Even When You’re at Home

We all know how hard it is to stay active and do all your workouts when it’s wintertime where you’re mostly stuck at home. However, you really need to adopt some good indoor exercising habits to help keep your body active and avoid living a sedentary lifestyle. Think of it this way: winter is the best way to take up a new sport that you can play indoors. If you like going out for a jog or cycling around the city, you can instead do yoga or indoor rock climbing as an alternative. It can help you mix it up when it comes to your workout routine but still remain active and fit.

Get a Flu Shot

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading around the world, people didn’t seem to give that much thought to vaccines and flu shots. In today’s post-pandemic world, getting vaccinated and getting your shots just became much more important than ever. So if you want to give yourself that added protection against the flu, it’s best to get your flu shot every year and give your immune system a better fighting chance against the thousands of different strains of the flu virus out there.

Conclusion

Colds, flu, and other illnesses can give you a pretty hard time, so you better be prepared once the flu season starts. The best way to stay healthy during this time is to take preventative steps even before you feel any of the first symptoms. Follow this guide and prepare yourself better against what you’re up against every flu and cold season.

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.

flu shot

How to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Flu Shot

Getting your regular flu shot can help keep you protected against the seasonal flu. Aside from reducing your chances of catching the flu, getting a flu vaccine can also reduce the transmission of the virus to high-risk individuals. So, it’s really important to get your flu vaccine every year. But did you know that there are some practices you can do to make your flu shot more effective?

Get the Timing Right

Not many people realize this, but it matters when you get your flu shot. You need to time your flu vaccine right to get maximum protection. This is because it will take around two weeks from the time you get your shot for your body to develop the antibodies it needs to protect you from the virus. Getting it too late may not give your body enough time to develop enough antibodies. According to the CDC, the end of October is the ideal time to get your flu shot so it can be most effective.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Regardless of whether you’re getting your flu shot or not, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet to keep your body healthy. But eating healthier before and after getting your shot can really help boost the effectiveness of the flu shot. That’s because a healthy diet can help promote a healthy immune system.

In particular, you should focus on eating foods that are good for your gut health. For example, probiotics are often essential in keeping your gut biome healthy and can help you fight off the flu. Other healthy foods you should add to your diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods, and yogurt.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in a person’s health. So, it’s best to develop good sleep habits so you can have quality sleep each night. Fixing your bad sleep habits is especially crucial leading up to your flu shot. After all, you’d want to be well-rested when it’s time to get your shot.

Aside from that, inadequate sleep can also increase your chances of coming down with the cold. When you’re not getting enough sleep each night, your body weakens, and your immune system can get compromised. 

In fact, a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that the vaccine’s effectiveness was down to half in those who had less than five hours of sleep in the nights leading up to their flu shot. Since the body isn’t getting enough sleep, the immune system wouldn’t have enough time to repair and build itself at night.

Exercise Your Body

Regular physical activity is another essential aspect of personal health. And it can also help you get the most out of your flu vaccine. Engaging in plenty of physical activity can help get your body ready for the shot. In particular, regular cardiovascular exercise was found to improve a person’s response to the flu shot, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of lifestyle changes you can do to help increase the effectiveness of your flu shot. In general, it’s all about keeping your body healthy so it can be ready to receive the vaccine. This can be through quality sleep, healthy eating, and regular exercise. The timing of your flu vaccine also matters.

Keep yourself healthy and protected from the flu with the help of Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM that provides flu shots and other primary and urgent care services. Schedule an appointment now!

injection

Why Flu Shots Are Still Important during the Pandemic

Flu season exists for a reason. Unfortunately, it does not stop just because the world is currently fighting a pandemic. Viruses spread year-round, but most of the flu activity peaks between December and February. Before that season begins, make sure that your body is prepared for it. Get your flu vaccine as early as October to give your body enough time to respond to the vaccine. 

Since COVID-19 is still here and will not go away anytime soon, you must make yourself healthier. Staying healthy is the best defense your body can do to avoid any virus from wearing out your body. This one little move could be the protection that your body needs against any destruction. 

Every winter, hospitals get more patients due to the cold season and the flu. If you do not want to be part of this patient volume, get vaccinated for the flu as early as you can.

Who Should Get Flu Shots?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone aged six months onwards should get their respective flu vaccines. The most vulnerable people are encouraged to participate in this call. If you belong to the following groups, you should prioritize getting flu shots as soon as possible:

  • You are a child or someone aged 65 and above
  • You have respiratory illnesses
  • You have lower immunity due to certain diseases

If your health condition is at a severe level, it would be best to consult and get your doctor’s approval first. When you take care of yourself through this small action, you have a high chance of not getting the flu during the flu season. 

How to Get Your Flu Vaccine

There are many ways you can get your flu vaccine. Here are some of them:

1. Get Your Flu Shot During Your Annual Wellness Exam

If you take a wellness exam annually, you can schedule it from October onwards and secure your flu vaccine by then. Make sure that you inform your doctor or anyone from the clinic ahead. You can also register your vaccine during your child’s vaccination schedule. Just make sure to notify all concerned parties beforehand. 

2. Request for a Vaccination Schedule

If you have no scheduled appointment with your health center, you can also secure an appointment for this purpose alone. Book a schedule with your clinic ahead so they can prepare and secure the vaccine for you. If you plan to have the whole family get the flu shots, notify your clinic in advance about the number of people you intend to bring. 

Is It Safe to Get Both COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine?

One of the biggest concerns in people’s heads is both vaccines’ safety, especially when mixed. However, there is no problem at all. Getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time is considered safe. 

The mix does not result in long-term side effects and does not alter the vaccine’s effectiveness. However, you have to be familiar with the side effects that each vaccine could give you. For example, some people experience chills or headaches upon receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, but these eventually disappear. 

Mixing the two does not make these side effects worse either. They are natural effects of your body developing immunity against a virus. 

Conclusion

People have no complete control over how the virus spreads and even on how it exists, but there are small steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones from experiencing the worst from it. Getting flu shots is one of the many steps. Listening to authority and following health protocols are another. If you have not taken your flu vaccine yet, consider scheduling one soon.

Aspen Medical Center is a locally-owned urgent and primary care medical facility located in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art services, which include flu shots for all. Call us at 505-657-1799 to book an appointment. 

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.