Pacific Family Practice Blog Feedhttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog Kirby Thu, 25 May 2017 00:09:55 -0700 Five Important Facts about the HPV Vaccine Gardasilhttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-important-facts-about-the-hpv-vaccine-gardasil family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-important-facts-about-the-hpv-vaccine-gardasil Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Five Important Facts about the HPV Vaccine Gardasil Shot

The HPV vaccine Gardasil is offered by Pacific Family Practice to young women and men between the ages of 16 and 18, but can be administered to children as young as 9 and adults as old as 26. The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV), as well as preventing the types of cervical cancers connected to that virus. However, even with the clear benefits the vaccine offers young people, many teenagers still do not receive it.

The reasons for this choice are of course personal, but unfortunately many parents do not pursue vaccination against HPV for their child because they heard myths and misunderstandings about what the vaccine is for and what it does. It is up to every parent to make the best healthcare decisions possible for their child, but we hope that we can alleviate your concerns about Gardasil.

  1. Yes, Gardasil is safe. The Gardasil vaccine is FDA approved for use on women and men within the age ranges stated above. It is possible that someone can be allergic to the ingredients found in the vaccine, so you should check with your doctor whether an allergic reaction is possible. Your physician may ask that you remain seated for 5 to 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to ensure that a reaction has not occurred.
  2. Gardasil is for boys as well. HPV is not limited to transmission in female patients as young men can carry and spread HPV as well. Although the vaccine is typically marketed toward young women because it prevents certain types of cervical cancer, this does not mean it is only for women.
  3. No, condoms are not enough to prevent HPV transmission. Of course, a condom should be used during intercourse to prevent STDs and pregnancy, but a condom does not cover the entire genital area. Since HPV spreads through any genital contact, the virus can still be contracted, even with proper condom usage. Using the Gardasil vaccine in addition to a condom will efficiently prevent HPV.
  4. There is no cure for HPV right now. HPV can be treated but it cannot be cured. Some patients will exhibit symptoms such as genital warts (which can be removed by a trained physician), but others can go years without realizing they have the virus because they are not experiencing symptoms.
  5. Other forms of contraception will not prevent HPV. The birth control pill, an IUI or implant will not stop the spread of the human papilloma virus or other STDs. Those forms of birth control need to be used in conjunction with a condom to prevent pregnancy and STDs, but HPV can still be transmitted.

If you have questions or concerns about Gardasil or HPV prevention, please contact Pacific Family Practice today. Our physicians and providers can answer your questions and provide guidance as you decide if the HPV vaccine is right for you or your teenager.

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Five Unexpected Services from Pacific Family Practicehttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-unexpected-services-from-pacific-family-practice family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-unexpected-services-from-pacific-family-practice Fri, 07 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Five Unexpected Services from Pacific Family Practice Shot

Pacific Family Practice has provided individualized medical care since the early 1980s, but you may be surprised to learn that we are more than your average general practitioners. Of course, we offer the expected range of family and primary care services, but there are also many additional treatments our physicians provide that are not typically offered by general practice physicians.

Because patient convenience is among our top priorities, we want you and your family members to be able to turn to our practice when you are unwell, injured or simply coming in for a wellness visit. We’ve detailed five of the top unexpected serviced offered by Pacific Family Practice below.

  1. Urgent care – Did you know that Pacific Family Practice offers urgent care services outside of normal office hours? We’re open until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays to offer urgent care services like cold and flu treatment, pinkeye diagnosis and treatment, treatment for lacerations, muscle sprains, bone fractures, asthma and other respiratory conditions, and all types of infections.
  2. Travel medicine and vaccinations for school or work – You can visit Pacific Family Practice before a trip abroad, prior to a new school year or before starting a new job for immunizations and travel medicine. While we do allow for walk-ins, we advise that patients schedule an appointment for these needs.
  3. Women’s health – With Pacific Family Practice, women do not need to seek one facility for gynecology needs and another for general healthcare. Women can visit our providers for their annual exams, contraception and family planning needs, STD testing and menopause management.
  4. Pediatric and newborn care – Many parents may believe that a separate pediatrician is needed until their child is ready to attend school, but Pacific Family Practice offers services for newborns, infants and young children, including regular checkups, immunizations and preventative healthcare, as well as answering new parent questions.
  5. On-site laboratory testing and other office-based procedures – Our facility is equipped for on-site lab testing and basic orthopedic care such as splints or casts and EKGs.

As noted above, Pacific Family Practice welcomes walk-in visits, but you can always schedule an appointment for a specific day or time with your provider of choice here.

We also invite patients to read some of our most popular blog posts:
10 Fun Things to Do near Pacific Family Practice
How to Make the Most out of Your Doctor's Appointment
10 Reasons to Visit Pacific Family Practice in San Francisco

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Why You Always Need to Finish Antibioticshttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/why-you-always-need-to-finish-antibiotics family-practice-sf/health-blog/why-you-always-need-to-finish-antibiotics Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Why You Always Need to Finish Antibiotics Shot

You’re finally feeling better after an illness serious enough to require antibiotics instead of over-the-counter (OTC) medication, but you still have a few pills left in the pack prescribed by your provider. It’s something most people have experienced at least once over the course of their lives, and it’s certainly tempting to skip out on those last few doses – after all, you are feeling better. Unfortunately, as many patients discover, this plan can backfire and the illness can come roaring back.

There’s a reason why you receive numerous warnings to complete the full course of prescribed antibiotics. Your physician, the pharmacist and the pill pack or bottle itself all warn against stopping the medication before the course of antibiotics is complete. At Pacific Family Practice, we understand that finally feeling like yourself again signals that you may no longer be sick, but this doesn’t mean that your care is complete. There are clear reasons why patients need to complete their antibiotic prescription.

What happens if I stop taking antibiotics before I finish them?
When you receive a prescription, it provides the exact number of pills needed and how these pills should be taken to effectively treat your condition. There aren’t any extra pills – each prescription is a full, complete treatment needed to kill the disease-causing bacteria in your system. When you stop treatment before it’s finished, you risk two things: your illness returning and building up a resistance to antibiotics.

Having your illness return is inconvenient for several reasons. The first reason is that your body is likely still weak from the first round of illness and you may feel worse than you did originally. The second is that you will may have to take even more time away from your normal routine, which means more missed work, school or other responsibilities.

Antibiotic resistance is very serious and something all patients need to consider before they skip finishing a prescription. When antibiotics are not taken properly, your body can develop a resistance to them which makes future treatments less effective. Conversely, antibiotic resistance is also caused when antibiotics are taken too frequently.

Can I ever stop taking my antibiotics before I finish them?
If you believe that you no longer need to finish your antibiotic prescription, please contact your Pacific Family Practice provider before you stop taking the medication. Certain prescriptions contain a larger number of pills than others, so your doctor may determine that you do not need to finish a pack or bottle if you have been taking the medication for longer than required. Again, this decision must be made by your provider, not by your own judgement of how healthy you are.

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Five Simple Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)https://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-simple-ways-to-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-simple-ways-to-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five Simple Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Shot

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that correlates to the winter season. Anyone can experience SAD, but the condition is particularly present in women, those who live in certain locations where daylight during the winter is short, those with a close relative who experiences SAD and those between the ages of 15 and 55.

SAD causes and symptoms
Doctors and other experts in the medical field aren’t entirely sure why SAD occurs, but it’s generally believed that it’s caused by a lack of natural sunlight which can upset a person’s biological clock (sleep pattern) and decreased levels of serotonin, a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and stabilizes mood. Symptoms of SAD include:

• Weight gain
• Difficulty sleeping
• Difficulty concentrating
• Loss of interest in hobbies
• Feeling sadder or more anxious than usual

If you believe that you are experiencing seasonal affective disorder, please contact your provider at Pacific Family Practice today. SAD can be diagnosed after a blood test to potentially rule out other conditions which can mimic seasonal affective disorder symptoms, such as hypothyroidism.

Ways to beat SAD

  1. Light therapy – Patients are exposed to bright light from a light therapy box that mimics natural sunlight. Many patients find light therapy to be very helpful in improving their mood from day to day.
  2. Medication – Medication is typically not the first recommended course of treatment, but for those who find SAD to interrupt their daily routine and significantly lower their quality of life, medication may be recommended.
  3. Exercise – Regular exercise is a known mood-booster and is known to relieve the impact of stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can consist of 30 to 60 minute walks, swimming, bike rides and more. A gym membership isn’t necessary to get in shape and relieve SAD symptoms.
  4. Spend time outdoors – Rainy, cold weather can make time spent outdoors seem unpleasant, but these weather conditions are rarely constant across the winter months. Making an effort to get outside during the work or school day when the weather is nicer, even for 15 to 20 minutes, can help relieve SAD symptoms.
  5. Adjust the home environment – Opening window blinds, trimming trees so branches do not interfere with sunlight and sitting closer to windows while spending time at home are small steps to relieve SAD symptoms during the winter months.
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Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth of Pacific Family Practice Are San Francisco Magazine "Top Doctors”https://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/dr-mirviss-and-dr-roth-of-pacific-family-practice-are-san-francisco-magazine-top-doctors family-practice-sf/health-blog/dr-mirviss-and-dr-roth-of-pacific-family-practice-are-san-francisco-magazine-top-doctors Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth of Pacific Family Practice Are San Francisco Magazine "Top Doctors” Shot

Pacific Family Practice is pleased to announce that Dr. Sophia N. Mirviss and Dr. Daniel Roth were both named on the 2017 “Top Doctors” list procured annually by San Francisco Magazine. This year, Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth were selected from a pool of more than 900 doctors across the Bay Area.

Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth were two of nine doctors in the San Francisco Bay area to receive the honor in the “Family Medicine” category. Dr. Mirviss is the only physician in the family medicine category to be recognized for her specialization in women’s health, geriatric medicine, skin diseases and sports injuries. Dr. Roth secured the only spot for specialization in men’s health.

Outside of selection by their peers, Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth are weighted by several factors, including education, professional experience, years in his or her field, hospital affiliation and board certification. Nominees are also checked against malpractice suits and disciplinary action.

Neither Dr. Mirviss or Dr. Roth are new to this award, as both have been featured on San Francisco Magazine’s list of top doctors in previous years. The achievement is one to be especially proud of -- the magazine, in conjunction with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., selects its list of top doctors by surveying physicians across a multitude of specialties who choose physicians based on who they would want to be their doctor or who they would personally recommend to family members and friends.

Pacific Family Practice is proud to have Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth as a fundamental part of our medical practice. Visit the Pacific Family Practice website to make an appointment.

About Dr. Sophia N. Mirviss
Dr. Mirviss is a board-certified physician specializing in family medicine. She has professional memberships in the American Academy of Family Medicine, Urgent Care Association of America and the San Francisco Medical Society. Her professional interests include women’s health, mood disorders, geriatric medicine, dermatology, sports medicine and orthopedic care. She received her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University and her residency took place at the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital Residency of Family Medicine. Dr. Mirviss is affiliated with St. Mary’s Medical Center- San Francisco.

About Dr. Daniel Roth
Dr. Roth received his MD from University of California - Southern California and his residency took place at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. He is board-certified in family medicine and his professional interests include men’s health, preventive care and supporting self-care. He is affiliated with the California Pacific Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center- San Francisco.

Congratulations to both Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Roth on this important achievement and thank you to those physicians who took the time to nominate Pacific Family Practice providers!

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Honor American Heart Month with Pacific Family Practicehttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/honor-american-heart-month-with-pacific-family-practice family-practice-sf/health-blog/honor-american-heart-month-with-pacific-family-practice Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Honor American Heart Month with Pacific Family Practice Shot

Pacific Family Practice honors American Heart Month every February by sharing the important information men and women need to take control of their long-term heart heath. Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, is a very serious condition that accounts for one in four deaths in the United States.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47 percent of all Americans have at least three key risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol or tobacco use. Fortunately, even though these risk factors are fairly common, they are easily addressed through lifestyle changes.

Annual checkups for adults
An annual physical at Pacific Family Practice is an excellent opportunity to “check in” with your overall health and to start working toward preventing or managing key risk factors that contribute to heart disease. Your physical will include full bloodwork, urine testing, heart and lung exams, and a blood pressure check. Our providers can also offer more specialized checkups for specific health concerns or lifestyle needs, depending on the patient.

Schedule an annual adult checkup today!

Lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease
As noted above, simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward decreasing your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health. The tough part of even the most straightforward lifestyle changes is following through with your new routine, whether it be related to your diet, how often you exercise, what kind of exercise you enjoy or which unhealthy habit you’re going to kick, like tobacco use or heavy alcohol consumption.

A helpful way to approach these changes is to view them as striking a balance: consider small indulgences to be part of a broader change that you can realistically follow. If one of your favorite foods isn’t exactly heathy or is outright unhealthy, cutting it out entirely isn’t realistic because you’ll grow to resent this change or you’ll give in to temptation and overindulge. Resenting a healthy diet or exercise routine day after day is an almost-guaranteed way to lose your commitment to positive change, so approach unhealthy vices in moderation.

If you find that you are struggling to stick with the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent serious, life-threatening illnesses, please contact your Pacific Family Practice provider.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Still Get a Flu Shot in Early 2017https://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-reasons-why-you-should-still-get-a-flu-shot-in-early-2017 family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-reasons-why-you-should-still-get-a-flu-shot-in-early-2017 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five Reasons Why You Should Still Get a Flu Shot in Early 2017 Shot

You may think that January is too late to get the flu shot, but that simply isn’t true! The flu season peaks between the months of December and February, which means you might still be at risk -- and there is still ample time to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Pacific Family Practice offers the flu vaccine to everyone 6 months old and up, but it is especially wise for children and the elderly to get one.

If you have yet to receive a flu shot and are on the fence as to why it is important, we invite you to review our list of five reasons why you should still get the vaccine in early 2017.

  1. The flu is more common now than it was in the fall. As noted earlier, we are currently in peak flu season. This means that more people around you are likely to have or be susceptible to the flu, which puts you are a higher risk for transmission if left unvaccinated.
  2. The flu is far more severe than a common cold. A cold may take you away from work or school for a day or two, but the flu is an entirely different level of illness. Some who have the flu are required to stay home from work or school for a longer period of time so they do not put others at risk or worsen their own symptoms. Even with proper medication and rest, the flu can still take several days to more than a week to run its course.
  3. The flu vaccine is typically no or low cost. Most insurance companies will cover most or all of the cost of the flu vaccine. Similarly, many employers or colleges will cover the cost or offer flu vaccines to employees and students free of charge.
  4. There are few restrictions on who can get the flu shot. For most individuals, the flu shot is a perfectly safe and effective way to avoid the flu. The flu shot is even recommended for pregnant women. Only individuals with an egg allergy or infants younger than 6 months old should not get the vaccine.
  5. You don’t need an appointment to get the flu shot. Pacific Family Practice offers the flu shot without an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome during all office hours, which are extended until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The reality of flu season is that it is possible to avoid getting the flu, but only if you take adequate measures to protect yourself. Staying healthy during a time of the year in which many fall ill means getting a flu shot, washing your hands frequently, avoiding contact with those who are sick whenever possible and taking care of yourself in basic ways like staying hydrated, having a balanced diet and getting enough sleep.

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Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician?https://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/why-do-i-need-a-primary-care-physician family-practice-sf/health-blog/why-do-i-need-a-primary-care-physician Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician? Shot

For many men and women, especially younger men and women in their 20s and early 30s, a primary care physician seems unnecessary. For those fortunate enough to remain in relatively good health without a chronic condition or injury, having a primary care physician may not even appear on your list of priorities. On one hand, to be healthy for such a long time is something to be very grateful for, but on the other, not having a “go-to” care provider means taking a risk you may end up regretting down the road.

Something will come up, and you’ll want to be ready
No one really expects that a cold will be stubborn enough to last for more than a week or that the flu will feel as bad as it does. No one can predict a broken bone, infection, lacerations or pinkeye. These issues happen from time to time, and it’s far better to be prepared before they take place instead of scrambling when you or a loved one is unwell or injured. Finding a doctor near you is simple and can be done online in just a few steps.

At Pacific Family Practice, we recommend searching for a practice that provides a wider range of services to cover more potential needs. For example, our practice offers primary care, urgent care, women’s healthcare, pediatrics and newborn and infant care. Our urgent care hours are extended to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays because we recognize that healthcare needs aren’t limited to standard office hours.

The downside of waiting to find a primary care provider
One of the downfalls of not having a primary care provider ahead of a health concern is having to find one that accepts your insurance and has an open appointment as soon as possible. Pacific Family Practice encourages patients to make appointments, but we also welcome walk-ins for those who are unable to do so. Being registered as a patient with one of our providers is just one simple way you can speed up your wait time before seeing your provider. To schedule an appointment or to register as a patient, please contact Pacific Family Practice today.

Planning and being prepared is essential when it comes to having a primary care provider you can rely on in times of illness or injury. The last thing anyone wants is to be unwell or hurt and struggle to book an appointment with a provider they were only able to locate minutes earlier. It adds unnecessary additional stress that complicates an already unpleasant day when you are sick.

Learn about how to know when you really need to visit your doctor and 10 reasons to visit Pacific Family Practice in San Francisco.

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Seven Symptoms of Diabetes Everyone Should Knowhttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/seven-symptoms-of-diabetes-everyone-should-know family-practice-sf/health-blog/seven-symptoms-of-diabetes-everyone-should-know Mon, 07 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 Seven Symptoms of Diabetes Everyone Should Know Shot

With the holiday season only a few weeks away, family and friends are making plans to gather around large celebratory meals and delicious treats – some of which may only offer high-sugar, unhealthy options. It’s only appropriate, then, that November is American Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness about the symptoms of this serious condition. More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes — including those who are diagnosed and those who are unaware that they are diabetic.

The statistics are startling, especially considering that certain cases of diabetes could be prevented through education, proper diet, exercise and medication. In honor of American Diabetes Month, Pacific Family Practice has outlined seven symptoms of diabetes everyone of all ages should be aware of.

Please contact your provider at Pacific Family Practice if you believe you are experiencing any symptoms of diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes:

  1. Frequent urination
  2. Feeling very thirsty or hungry, even when hydrated or after a meal
  3. Blurred vision
  4. Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  5. Frequent, severe fatigue
  6. Pain, numbness or a tingling sensation in your hands or feet (common with Type 2)
  7. Weight loss (common with Type 1)

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in American men, women and children. Diabetes can be diagnosed by a primary care provider through a simple blood test. Early detection is critically important because it can allow for proper diagnosis and treatment of existing symptoms to prevent the serious complications that can arise from untreated diabetes.

Certain individuals are more at risk for developing diabetes, and your risk can depend on a range of factors from family medical history to weight. For Type 1 diabetes, you are more at risk of developing the condition if you have family members with diabetes or a disease or infection of the pancreas. For Type 2 diabetes, your risk increases if you are aged 45 or older, are obese, are inactive, have high blood pressure, are of a certain ethnic background (African-Americas, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans or Pacific Islanders are of higher risk), or have a family history of the disease.

Pacific Family Practice encourages patients of all ages to review the above symptoms with care and reach out to our office with any questions or concerns about diabetes.

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Debunking the Top 10 Misconceptions About Urgent Carehttps://www.pacificfamilycare.com/family-practice-sf/health-blog/debunking-the-top-10-misconceptions-about-urgent-care family-practice-sf/health-blog/debunking-the-top-10-misconceptions-about-urgent-care Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 Debunking the Top 10 Misconceptions About Urgent Care Shot

Urgent care centers are a “halfway point” between a general practitioner (GP) and the emergency room (ER). Urgent care is an ideal option in many situations where care from a trained, experienced provider is certainly an “urgent” need, but it is not a medical emergency.

Unfortunately, urgent care centers are often overlooked or forgotten about when someone needs to see a doctor. Trips to the emergency room are a knee-jerk reaction for many, regardless of the distinct benefits an urgent care facility provides. Dismissing urgent care as a viable option comes from decades of myths and misconceptions about what they offer and why the ER isn’t always the best option for quality, efficient, and quick medical care.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about urgent care – and the real story behind them.

  1. Urgent care is expensive – Typically, most patients will only be required to cover their standard co-pay for an office visit and their insurance provider will cover any other expenses to an urgent care center. Overall cost to your local urgent care center may vary, but it’s much cheaper than the median cost of a trip to the emergency room: about $1,233 per visit.
  2. You’ll wait just as long as you would at the ER – Anyone who has ever visited an emergency room knows that the fast-paced ER can be overcrowded at any time of day or night and that long wait times are expected. A typical ER wait time is around one hour, but a typical urgent care center wait time is under 20 minutes.
  3. You need an appointment – Many, if not all, urgent care centers in the United States offer same-day appointments or welcome walk-ins without an appointment. Same-day appointments assure the patient that they will be seen and help the urgent care facility stay organized, but walk-ins are also accepted without reservation.
  4. Only a hospital can provide testing services – Urgent care facilities are well equipped for a variety of screening procedures. Many provide X-rays, EKGs and on-site laboratory testing. This cuts down on patient travel time between facilities and overall cost.
  5. The ER is best for broken bones and deep cuts – You’d be surprised to learn about the lengthy list of healthcare services that urgent care centers provide. The medical staff at urgent care facilities can address bone fractures, non-severe lacerations, muscle sprains and strains, asthma, pink eye, all types of infections (including respiratory), vaccinations, high fever with a rash, colds, flu, IV hydration, and even travel medicines.
  6. Urgent care centers are open from 9 to 5 – One key benefit of a local urgent care center is that its hours are outside the typical schedule kept by most general practitioners. Most urgent care facilities are open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and often offer weekend hours as well. This is not the same as the 24-hour availability of an emergency room, but it does accommodate for those who are unwell but unable to leave work or school to address the issue.
  7. You need to be a current patient –Urgent care centers affiliated with general family practices do not require pre-registration in order to benefit from their services. Urgent care centers exist for the very purpose of administering immediate care for all.
  8. Urgent care centers can replace your GP – Patients are still encouraged to visit with their regular doctor in situations where care is not needed urgently, including for physicals and other preventative screenings.
  9. Urgent care centers are hard to find – About 75 percent of urgent care centers are located in suburban areas, providing easy access to medical care for the majority of Americans. Fifteen percent are located in urban areas, and the remaining 10 percent can be found in rural areas.
  10. Urgent care facilities just send patients to the ER – Urgent care centers only send patients to the ER when a situation has escalated into a medical emergency or it was already an emergency when they arrived at the facility. An urgent care center may refer patients to a specialist, but all non-emergency issues are addressed at an urgent care center appointment.

When the ER is necessary
For all the benefits of a local urgent care center, sometimes the ER cannot be avoided. In the following cases, skip the urgent care center and go directly to the ER:

• Seizures
• Chest pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Sudden severe pain or swelling
• Sudden change in vision
• Altered mental status
• Confusion
• Head or eye injuries
• Severe burns
• Deep, severe lacerations

The above list contains distinct cases where a situation has evolved into an emergency and urgent care is no longer appropriate.

Finding your local urgent care center
Finding your local urgent care center ahead of time is always recommended for several reasons:
• Establish where to go. By knowing the location of your closest urgent care facility, you can avoid looking up your best options while also dealing with flu symptoms or a sprained muscle.
• Check if the facility accepts your insurance. This will prevent any stress or concern regarding the cost of your visit in the event that your insurance happens to not be accepted.
• Know where and how to make an appointment. Programming your local urgent care center’s phone number into your contacts or address book, or bookmarking its web address, will help you book an appointment easily later on, making it easier to go to the urgent care center when you’re not feeling well.

About Pacific Family Practice
Pacific Family Practice (PFP provides exceptional primary and urgent care) for all patients from San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Marin County and the entire San Francisco Bay area. We offer flexible hours, immediate care appointments, and same-day walk-ins at our San Francisco clinic. PFP’s board-certified family doctors provide a full range of medical care, including pediatrics, women’s health, internal medicine, and urgent care services. If you need urgent care in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit PFP instead of taking a trip to the emergency room.

This article was originally published on the blog of Medelita Scrubs & Lab Coats.

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