Pacific Family Practice Blog Feed Kirby Tue, 07 Jan 2020 01:07:51 -0800 Five Health Mistakes to Avoid This Holiday Season family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-health-mistakes-to-avoid-this-holiday-season Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five Health Mistakes to Avoid This Holiday Season

With all the planning, responsibilities and events of the upcoming holiday season, the last thing anyone wants is to fall ill and be unable to enjoy or participate in the festivities. Cooler weather invites the cold/flu season, but this doesn’t mean you are helpless against illness. Patients who are proactive and take control of their health are less likely to contract an illness like the common cold or the flu.

You may hesitate to add to a to-do list, but we hope you will consider the following mistakes as a kind warning that cold/flu season can impact men and women of all ages.

1. Skipping a flu shot – The only individuals who do not qualify for a flu shot are infants under the age of 6 months. Men, women, children and the elderly are all encouraged to receive the flu vaccine as soon as possible. This includes pregnant women, for which the flu vaccine is safe.
2. Close contact with someone who is ill – It can be difficult to keep coworkers who feel unwell from coming in to the office (even though they should absolutely stay home!), but you should avoid direct contact with someone who is ill whenever possible. Do not share drinks. Wash items like towels, blankets, bedsheets and pillowcases, and clean surfaces like counters, desks, door handles, bathroom appliances, keyboards, mobile phones and tablets to remove germs.
3. Sleeping less than 7-9 hours per night – The quality and quantity of your sleep cycle directly impacts your immune system. Those without at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night risk a compromised immune system that can be susceptible to illness.
4. Touching your eyes, nose and mouth – Clean hands are one of the best ways to avoid the cold/flu, but keeping your hands clean 100% of the time isn’t always realistic. Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes whenever possible.
5. Not hydrating – One of the easiest ways to ensure a healthy immune system is to drink enough water throughout the day. Try replacing at least one non-water beverage with water once a day to start, if you find that drinking water is a struggle, or set goals for yourself to drink an amount of water before each next meal. You can tell how hydrated you are by the color of your urine. Pale yellow or clear urine means you are hydrated; dark yellow is an indication that you need to drink more water. Red or brown urine means that you should contact your healthcare provider to ensure an underlying condition isn’t present.

Extra quick tips!
• The holidays lean toward more indulgent food choices, and you can certainly enjoy your favorites, but we recommend watching portion size to skip an upset stomach, acid reflux, cholesterol concerns, etc.
• Take symptoms seriously. If you begin to feel unwell, take the time to rest and recover. Pushing through illness can worsen your condition, taking symptoms from mild or moderate to severe.

Staying healthy during the cold/flu season doesn’t have to be a chore. The above steps are simple, taking only minimal time and effort but providing maximum results. You might even find that your overall health improves once you take control of how much sleep you get and how much water you drink. If you have any questions, please contact Pacific Family Practice.

Ten Tips to Help You Skip This Year’s Cold/Flu Season family-practice-sf/health-blog/tips-to-help-you-skip-this-years-cold-flu-season Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 10 Tips to Help You Skip This Year’s Cold/Flu Season

The 2017-2018 cold and flu season is now underway, and people of all ages are susceptible to illness. Note that having the flu is not the same as having the common cold; the flu is much more severe and requires a longer recovery period. It’s the difference between a day off from school or work and a week or more off. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid this year’s cold/flu viruses.

1. Get a flu shot – Sometimes the simplest answer is best. You can receive a flu shot at Pacific Family Practice. The vaccine is available to everyone age six months and older, and is safe for pregnant women.
2. Avoid contact with those who are already ill – Skipping handshakes, hugs and kisses and passing on sharing food/drinks with someone who is ill are advised in order to avoid contracting their illness.
3. Keep your day-to-day items clean – Cell phones, computer mouse, tablet, desks, remote controls, door handles, counters, keyboards, glasses, etc., are everyday items that carry germs from one surface to another, including your hands and face.
4. Set goals for sleeping – The quality and quantity of your sleep is directly correlated to how healthy your immune system is.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – Unless you have freshly washed and dried hands, you should avoid contact.
6. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables – A balanced diet is key to any long-term healthcare plan, but your immune system in particular needs the nutrients provided by healthy foods.
7. Wash your hands frequently – There’s no need to go overboard, but you should be washing your hands more frequently during cold/flu season.
8. Stay home and rest during illness – If you do feel unwell, it is best to stay home until you are diagnosed by a physician who determines how long you will need to miss school or work. You will only put others at risk for illness if you try to maintain your normal schedule.
9. Ask your doctor if you are at high risk – The elderly and young have the greatest risk of contracting illness, particularly the flu.
10. Use common sense – Navigating cold/flu season can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have any questions about steps to avoid illness, please contact Pacific Family Practice today.

September Is Sexual Health Awareness Month family-practice-sf/health-blog/september-is-sexual-health-awareness-month Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 September Is Sexual Health Awareness Month

Pacific Family Practice honors sexual health awareness month by providing male and female patients with the STD testing services needed to offer a clear diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as education on STD prevention.

Myths and misconceptions about STDs are dangerous
So often, STDs are transmitted from one person to another because of misunderstandings or confusion about the proper way to protect yourself and your partner. It is essential to know the proper way to use a condom and understand that one is required for every sexual encounter to prevent STD transmission. It may seem like basic common sense, but many patients take their sexual health for granted, making assumptions that because they have been free of STDs in the past, they will continue to be in the future.

It is commonly thought that all STDs are the same, so protection against these viruses is also the same. However, this is not true. For example, the human papilloma virus (HPV) can be spread between men and women even when a condom is used, because a condom does not cover the entire genital area. It can also be spread through oral or anal intercourse. HPV prevention begins with the vaccine Gardasil, which is offered at Pacific Family Practice for young women and men as well.

STD testing cannot be avoided
If you suspect that you may have an STD, or if you have engaged in unprotected intercourse or intercourse when protection failed, please schedule an appointment with Pacific Family Practice or your provider as soon as possible. Many STD treatments are most effective immediately after transmission, so waiting or avoiding testing will only risk worsening your diagnosis and symptoms. It’s tempting to hope that the risk of an STD will simply go away, but many STDs present with symptoms that do not result in visible problems. You can go months or even years without seeing evidence of an STD.

Every STD is different, so your symptoms will vary. The important thing to remember is that testing can confirm whether an STD is present and if you require treatment. Many STDs can be cured entirely with treatment, and those without a cure can be managed so you can maintain a high quality of life. Please contact Pacific Family Practice with any questions or concerns about STD transmission, testing or treatment.

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month family-practice-sf/health-blog/august-is-national-immunization-awareness-month Mon, 14 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

Pacific Family Practice proudly promotes August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). National Immunization Awareness Month was established to promote awareness of and education about the importance of vaccines and ensuring people of all ages are up to date with their immunizations. Vaccines are responsible for the prevention of serious, sometimes fatal diseases that can affect men and women of all ages. Our practice offers immunizations and vaccines as part of our pediatric and newborn care services.

Back to school season
August is a particularly serendipitous time to honor NIAM, as this is when many children are heading back to school. Parents are encouraged to make appointments with Pacific Family Practice to ensure that their child receives all of the vaccinations required to attend school that year. August is a very busy time for vaccination appointments, so we kindly ask that you make an appointment as early as possible in your schedule so we can accommodate you in time for the first day of school.

Preparing for cold and flu season
You might be surprised that the flu season starts as early as October, which is why many medical practices will begin to offer the flu vaccine in August and September. As always, we encourage you and your family to take the impending flu season seriously. The flu is not simply a more intense cold. It is a virus that can last several days to several weeks, resulting in missed work or school. Young children and the elderly are most at risk for contracting and spreading the flu, and women who are pregnant need to take extra precautions as well.

Pacific Family Practice can offer all flu vaccines starting 8/20/17.

Quick flu season facts:
• Children age six months and older can receive the flu vaccine
• The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women
• Peak flu season is from December through February
• The flu season can last until May
• The flu virus can live on a surface for up to 72 hours (door knobs, counters, desks, etc.)
• The flu shot is often covered by insurance

Pacific Family Practice is committed to ensuring all of our patients enjoy quality long-term health. If you have questions about immunization schedules or whether you are up to date on vaccines, please contact our office today.

How Can I Improve My Digestive Health? family-practice-sf/health-blog/how-can-i-improve-my-digestive-health Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 How Can I Improve My Digestive Health?

It’s easy to notice if your digestive health is “off” or poor. A bad day for your digestive system can mean interrupted or even missed work, school or other responsibilities. It can also cause embarrassment or stressful situations.

Having a healthy digestive system means taking responsibility for everything you introduce into your system via eating and drinking. The saying “you are what you eat” is especially relevant, and even teenagers and children can tell the difference in how they feel after a healthy meal versus an unhealthy one.

Good digestive health really does begin with paying attention to what triggers your symptoms. Food is part of our daily routine, so eating and drinking can be reflexive, whatever is near, convenient, cheap or fast becoming criteria over what is best for our health. Taking the time to plan and consider what you eat can improve how you feel, how you look, your energy levels and more.

Consider the following tips to improve your digestive health:

  1. Meal planning and meal preparation – Sunday is a popular day for meal planning and preparation. Many households complete grocery shopping on weekends, allowing for a bit of extra time not normally allotted during the week to decide what you will eat for each meal, when and if you will eat out and what needs to be prepared ahead of schedule. Meal planning is one of the best ways to not only save money, but to eat healthier, home-cooked meals that benefit your digestive health and your weight.
  2. Hydrate – You really do need to take stock of how much water you drink each day. Most people think they are drinking enough water, but it is probably not enough if you are also counting other beverages such as tea, coffee, juice and soda. There is no substitute for water. Ideally, you need to drink enough water each day for your urine to be clear, or at least pale yellow in color. If your urine is dark or discolored, please contact your Pacific Family Practice provider.
  3. Consider a physical and/or check-up – If you feel your digestive heath is lacking or if you have been experiencing issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating or cramping, you should book an appointment with your provider. Your provider can determine if a referral to a gastroenterologist is needed or if treatment can be provided on-site.
  4. Probiotics – Certain foods and supplements contain higher amounts of probiotics that can help treat certain digestive conditions. You should consult with your provider if you believe that you could benefit from a probiotic-focused diet or supplements.

Pacific Family Practice is happy to work with patients experiencing common digestive issues. Walk-ins are welcome, but we do recommend booking an appointment when possible. You can request an appointment with our providers here.

Five Ways Pacific Family Practice Can Make Summer Stress-free for Parents family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-ways-pacific-family-practice-can-make-summer-stress-free-for-parents Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Five Ways Pacific Family Practice Can Make Summer Stress-free for Parents

Summer may be your child’s favorite season, but for parents, the summer season might not be so care-free. Summer is a popular time to prepare for school through immunization and exam requirements and to complete the medical requirements for fall sports.

Vacation for kids means that there’s more time for them to get the check-ups they need without missing valuable classroom time – which means more scheduling conflicts and time off from work for parents. All this shuttling around can be overwhelming for parents, and Pacific Family Practice wants to make the process easier where we can.

  1. Booking an appointment for a physical is easy, and you can do it online, from your phone.
    Now is the time to schedule physicals needed for fall activities, as appointments can book up fast at the end of summer. To help you make an appointment quickly and easily, we’ve designed a contact form that fits whatever device you’re using and only requires a few quick details before submission. You can choose a specific provider if you’d like and select a date which best fits your busy schedule. We will do our best to accommodate your needs as physicals are an essential part of school and sport participation.

  2. We’ve prepared a thorough guide to sun protection for children and adults.
    Skin protection is important all year round, but the summer months are when we are typically most at risk. Not being in school allots for a lot of time spent outside, which is great, but there are special precautions parents should take to help ensure their child avoids painful, skin-damaging sunburns. Read Pacific Family Practice’s guide to melanoma prevention.

  3. We offer on-site urgent care services outside of normal office hours.
    Sometimes, parents can skip a trip to the ER and visit Pacific Family Practice to avoid long wait times and higher, often unexpected fees. We provide X-rays, EKGs and laboratory testing at our facility. We also treat cold and flu symptoms, pink eye, broken bones, lacerations, muscle sprains, asthma, all types of infections and rashes. We also offer vaccinations and travel medications.

  4. Infant and newborn care is included in our list of services.
    Parents who visit Pacific Family Practice can also bring their infants and newborn babies for checkups, vaccines and immunizations, preventative health, and consultations to address new parent questions. There is no need to have two separate physician visits at two different facilities for older children/toddlers and infants/newborns. Parents who need appointments for multiple children are advised to please book the number of appointments they need well in advance so we can best accommodate your needs.

  5. Our convenient Bay Area location is close to many family-friendly activities for before and after visits.
    We’ve prepared a fun guide for anyone visiting our practice so they can find things to do in the area before or after their appointment. Our list includes great options for parents to take advantage of both indoors and outdoors, so the family can enjoy some time together regardless of how the weather holds up.
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.

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

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.

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.