For more information about the author, click to view their website: Healthcare Network
People with health insurance are generally
expected by their insurance carriers to have a primary care physician. But
having a primary care physician is essential for everyone, and it goes
beyond just meeting the requirements of health insurance. Studies show they
lower the cost of care, improve health outcomes and positively impact the overall
health of the community.
A primary care physician (PCP) serves as the initial point
of contact for non-emergency medical concerns. They establish the foundation
for your overall health by familiarizing themselves with your individual needs
and circumstances. This long-term relationship results in early detection and
treatment of disease, chronic disease management and preventative care.
A PCP can be a family practitioner, generalist, internist, pediatrician,
geriatrician, obstetrician and gynecologist as well
as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant working with primary care
Study after study has shown that people who have a PCP experience
extended lifespans, with reduced risks of mortality from conditions such as
heart disease, cancer, or stroke. This is because PCPs play a crucial role
in addressing minor illnesses and concerns at an early stage, preventing them
from escalating into more serious conditions. Moreover, individuals with a PCP
tend to incur lower healthcare costs, as these physicians actively monitor
wellness and facilitate coordinated care. This is especially important for seniors, as those who
receive regular, preventive care and have their health issues effectively managed
are less prone to hospitalization or emergency room visits.
A PCP becomes your partner, sharing the responsibility for
your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Since one in three seniors sees
at least five doctors a year, a primary care doctor can help provide seamless,
integrated care, managing appointments, prescriptions and providing a medical
home base by coordinating fragmented care.
In addition, patients who have providers who take time to
listen to their concerns are more satisfied with their health care experience
and are more likely to take care of their health. Unfortunately, more than 50%
of adults over 65 are not up to date on their recommended preventative
services. Seniors who skip their annual check-ups are at a higher risk for
medical conditions that a primary care doctor would have caught in time to treat.
Having a PCP means that patients are more likely to:
prescriptions and have routine preventative care like flu shots and blood
cancer screenings, including colorectal cancer screening and mammography.
less time in the hospital and less money on medical costs overall.
Still, about one-third of Americans do not have a PCP. If
primary care is so good for us, why don’t we all have a PCP? Two of the
barriers include lack of availability of doctors and lack of health insurance.
The U.S. Health Resources and
Services Administration designates nearly all of
Southwest Florida as a “Medically Underserved Area,” meaning there is a
shortage of primary care providers for the growing population.
Lack of health insurance has been shown to decrease the use
of preventive and primary care. People without health insurance may delay care
when they are ill or injured, and they are more likely to be hospitalized for chronic
In 1977, Healthcare Network began
caring for migrant farmworkers and underserved populations in Immokalee who had
difficulties accessing primary health care. Since then, it has grown to provide
primary healthcare to men, women and children of
all ages, helping the disenfranchised, underinsured, and uninsured of our
communities, as well as those with insurance and resources who recognize the
quality and comprehensiveness of care available.
Community Health Centers like Healthcare Network improve
access to high quality primary care, while decreasing hospitalization rates and
use of emergency departments in the states and counties that they serve.
If you are currently healthy and don’t
have extensive medical needs, now is a great time
to establish a relationship with a PCP who can get to know you and help you
meet your health care goals. They will also be there when you need them. The
relationship you build with your primary care doctor could be one of the most
important you will ever have for your overall well-being.
Dr. Reinier Ramirez is a board-certified physician and the medical director of adult medicine for Healthcare Network. For information about primary care and other services or to make an appointment, call 239-658-300 or visit HealthcareSWFL.org.
13 Foods to Eat When Sick With a Cold The common cold is an upper respiratory infection and the most common illness in the world. In fact, the average adult experiences 23 colds a year. Symptoms tend to be mild and may include sneezing, a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, and headaches. When treating a cold, many people turn to medications, hydration, and rest. While these help, diet can also be a powerful tool to reduce cold symptoms, shorten the duration of the cold, and boost immune function. Cold Symptoms While there are over 200 types of cold, rhinovirus is the most common type, earning it the nickname common cold. Symptoms start a few days after someone comes into contact with the virus and can last up to 1014 days. The symptoms of a cold include: Congestion (a stuffy nose) Cough Runny nose Sneezing Headache Sore throat In rare cases, more severe symptoms may be present. These include a fever, dehydration, and trouble breathing. Diet & Cold Symptoms Nutrition science can point us toward certain foods to hydrate and fight infection and it can help us stay away from foods that do the opposite, such as fast food or dehydrating substances like coffee. When we fight infections like the common cold, its important to stay hydrated and maintain a diet with high-quality protein, fruits, and veggies. These foods offer relief from cold symptoms, strengthen the immune system, and may even shorten how long a cold lasts. Other foods, like soups, may also prevent dehydration. Essential Nutrients for the Immune System When grocery shopping with a cold, purchase foods with:Anti-inflammatory properties: a cold is often the manifestation of inflammation in the upper respiratory tract. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties decrease inflammation, reducing symptoms and sometimes shortening cold length. Antioxidants: foods that are high in antioxidants neutralize free radicals that harm the immune system. This makes them a great addition to prevent future illnesses, especially for those who experience recurring colds. Vitamin A: thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and a high level of antioxidants, Vitamin A may reduce symptom severity and help prevent future colds. Vitamin D: the most famous vitamin for boosting the immune system, Vitamin D, contains anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties which can be useful when fighting a cold. Vitamin C: As a source of antioxidants, Vitamin C possesses antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can boost the immune system. A strong immune system can fight off severe cold symptoms better. Vitamin E: Similar to Vitamin C, Vitamin E is a great source of antioxidants that help reduce symptoms from a cold. Zinc: like the aforementioned vitamins, Zincs antioxidant properties strengthen the immune system, preventing future colds. Zinc is also antiviral and may shorten a colds length. One study suggests zinc consumption can shorten a colds duration by two days. Foods to Eat When Sick With A Cold One of the best ways to get enough Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and antioxidants is to maintain a healthy diet. When suffering from a cold, here are some of the best foods to reduce symptoms, shorten the duration of the illness, and prevent future colds. This list is non-exhaustive, and other foods may offer similar benefits. Read until the end for even more ideas of food to eat when sick with a cold. Often, the best foods to eat are those we enjoy and will actually add to our diet. Chicken SoupChicken soup has been a go-to cold remedy for centuries. But is there some wisdom to this home remedy or is it an old wives tale? While chicken soup wont cure a cold, it can provide temporary relief. Since soup is warm, it can open up a stuffy nose or sore throat. It also provides fluid, preventing dehydration and help in thinning mucus. However, these benefits are not exclusive to one type of soup. Feel free to swap out this common remedy for tomato soup or another favorite and experience the same benefits. Chamomile TeaAnother hot and calming cold remedy is chamomile tea. Like soup, it may provide temporary relief and thin mucus, but chamomile, or any type of tea, wont cure a cold. Chamomile might prevent future colds as it boosts the immune system. For those who dont like chamomile but want a similar effect, other hot liquids, like green tea, may work too. However, fewer studies support the effects of green tea on nasal congestion and cold viruses. Orange JuiceCitrus juices, such as orange juice, provide immune-boosting Vitamin C and other health benefits. These benefits stem from the folate in citrus fruits. Folate is a nutrient that helps maintain immunological barriers and prevent colds. But orange juice isnt only for prevention. It can provide benefits for those with a cold too. When someone has a cold, they experience sinus inflammation in the nose and sinus canals. Recent research suggests orange juice may reduce that inflammation. Eating an orange has a similar effect, but may not be as hydrating. GingerWhether its from a ginger shot or adding raw ginger to a soup, this herb may help with relieving congestion and other cold symptoms. Like orange juice, fresh ginger is an anti-inflammatory food and might reduce puffiness caused by a cold. It also contains antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals that can harm the immune system. While this property wont provide immediate relief, the antioxidants in ginger boost immune function, preventing recurring colds. HoneyIf a cold has caused a cough, raw honey is a great natural remedy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends honey for adults and children over 12 months old with a cough because of the relief it provides. TurmericOften considered a superfood, turmeric can boost immune response, relieve arthritis symptoms, and prevent muscle soreness. Many, though not all, of these benefits stem from turmerics antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These same properties may relieve the symptoms of a cold. Chili PeppersTo turn up the spice on cold relief, consider eating chili peppers. Their active ingredient, Capsaicin, has been linked to a reduction in postnasal drip, congestion, and sneezing. Other spicy foods with capsaicin may deliver similar relief. CherriesAs weve discussed, certain foods can be useful in fighting inflammation caused by colds and boosting the immune cells when sick. One such food is a cherry because it reduces inflammation in the sinuses and digestive tract. As a fresh or frozen fruit, cherries also help people who experience trouble sleeping because of a cold. They reduce oxidative stress, and less oxidative stress may help people sleep better at night. CarrotsCarrots might not be the first food that comes to mind when you have a cold. Yet, they are often one of the best foods to add to the grocery list, especially if a cold causes chest pain or other respiratory symptoms. Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A, which helps maintain proper immune health. Carrots also contain Vitamin C, which has been linked to less severe cold symptoms, particularly in the respiratory tract. Leafy GreensEating veggies is always important, but leafy greens might provide extra benefits for those with a cold. Broccoli and spinach in particular have been linked to enhanced immune system function and a reduction in cold symptoms, thanks to high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. KiwiOlder adults who are prone to the flu might benefit from adding kiwifruit to their diets. As a source of Vitamin C, kiwifruit boosts the immune system and can decrease cold duration. Some research suggests these immune-boosting benefits may have a bigger impact on older adults, children, and others who have a weaker immune system. Fatty FishOne of the most common sources of Vitamin D is fatty fish. Specifically, salmon, tuna, and herring possess large amounts of vitamin D, keeping the immune system strong. For those who dont eat meat, eggs may have a similar effect. Fish are also a source of Omega3, which is another anti-inflammatory. Omega3 has been linked to relieving symptoms of conditions that might flare up when someone has a cold, such as asthma, but little research has been done on its impact on a cold itself. Mediterranean DietFrequent colds are no fun, but they can be prevented with certain dietary changes. Emerging research points to the Mediterranean Diet as particularly beneficial for those who cant seem to shake a cold or who experience frequent cold complications. In a 2016 study, researchers found this reduction led to fewer and less severe colds in trial participants who experienced recurring colds. The Mediterranean diet consists of a mainly plant-based diet with some lean meats and seafood. It also involves lighter seasoning on food and using olive oil instead of butter to prepare foods. More Fruits and Veggies to Stock Up On Other foods that are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc may also relieve sinus congestion and other cold symptoms. Fruits and veggies to stock up on: Apricots Artichokes Bell peppers Blackberries Brussel sprouts Cabbage Cantaloupe Cauliflower Cranberries Guava Lemon Lime Foods to Avoid With a Cold The worst foods for a cold are those that cause nasal inflammation, such as processed sugars and carbohydrates. Fast food also isnt a good idea when under the weather. Beverages that dehydrate, such as alcohol and coffee, can worsen symptoms too, since a large part of cold recovery is to stay hydrated. What To Eat When Struggling With Nausea Nausea is not a common symptom of a cold, but if it is present, someone may not be able to keep food down. When this is the case, they may want to try the BRAT diet. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These four foods are easier to keep down than others and provide some subsistence to those experiencing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you are not experiencing nausea or an upset stomach, its best to avoid the BRAT diet since it doesnt contain the necessary nutrients for better immune health. Other Ways to Shorten a Cold Dietary changes arent the only ways to combat a cold. Staying hydrated, getting lots of rest, and using saline sprays also relieve cold symptoms. Gargling warm salt water or using a humidifier may provide relief as well. Over-the-counter cold and cough medications also help. When taking any medication, be careful about its side effects. For cold and cough medicine specifically, ensure you are not allergic to any ingredients. Some also contain pain relievers that, when paired with a pain medication like Tylenol or Advil, could become dangerous. To avoid unwanted side effects, read the medication label before taking it. If questions arise, consult the pharmacist or a medical provider. When To See A Doctor Usually, a cold resolves on its own. In some cases, the intervention of a doctor may be needed. Considering seeing a doctor if: Symptoms dont improve on their own in 1014 days Theres a fever that lasts longer than four days Symptoms like a fever or cough improve and then worsen Dehydration occurs A cold makes it hard to breathe Chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, are worsened by the cold If the cold turns into bronchitis or pneumonia, its also best to contact a medical provider. FAQ What should I eat when sick with a cold?Research suggests foods that are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E can reduce the severity and length of cold symptoms. Many foods with anti-inflammatory properties can also reduce symptoms, while foods high in antioxidants strengthen the immune system. How long does a cold last?A cold usually lasts 10-14 days. It can be shorter, depending on the type of cold, treatments taken, and how the immune system responds. If longer, consider consulting a medical professional. How long am I contagious with a cold?While the cold displays symptoms for 10-14 days, its contagious for longer. The cold can spread a few days before someone shows symptoms. It stops being contagious once all symptoms are gone. Whats the difference between a cold and the flu?Both a cold and flu can cause sneezing, congestion, fever, headaches, sore throats, and fatigue. Despite these shared symptoms, there are a few key differences between the two. Flu symptoms are usually more severe and come on more abruptly. Those with the flu are also more likely to experience fever, headaches, muscle aches and chest discomfort. A cold is more likely to cause a runny nose and congestion. How to get rid of a cold fast?Getting rid of a cold faster often involves mixing multiple treatment options. For many, this includes cold medicine, at-home treatments, and dietary changes, such as eating more foods that are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc. For more personalized advice on chronic colds, consult with a nutrition consultant or registered dietitian. If you are an older adult and are looking for specialized care in the Mobile, Alabama area, contact Oak Street Health at 251-450-8017. They have dedicate doctors and care team members who will take the time to get to know and understand your individual needs, to help with Medicare and insurance paperwork and help to eliminate the hassles to help you take care of yourself.
Prime Healthcare Passionate about SeniorsAt St. Joseph Medical Center, weve made changes to provide specialized care tailored to seniors. As the first accredited geriatric ER in KC, we identify seniors that may need extra support during or after their hospitalization. Our inpatient Senior Behavioral Health Unit provides care for adults over 55 years of age experiencing acute behavioral symptoms associated with dementia and/or other mental health conditions.Paul Hura, MD, Senior Care Services Medical Director shares, "It is an honor and privilege to care for our seniors, and these philosophies remain very important to our physicians, nurses and entire healthcare teams at St. Joseph Medical Center.St. Marys Medical Center is a patient-centered community hospital in Blue Springs, Missouri providing comprehensive quality care with state-of-the-art treatment in a warm, caring environment. With the only accredited Geriatric Emergency Department in Eastern Jackson County, Dr. Michael Liston, Cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer, understands this well. We take caring for seniors to heart. St. Marys holds numerous Grade A and 5-star ratings, while continuing to offer hometown touches such as walk-in 3D Mammograms. As a community partner with local schools, chambers, and charitable organizations, St. Marys is Your Community Hospital. StMarysKC.comIn Leavenworth, Saint John Hospital offers Senior Behavioral Health for inpatient care. During a patients stay, the unit uses a multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary approach to care. Our specialized staff supports patients and family member with comprehensive nursing care 24 hours a day. Many times, the slow loss of a loved ones sense of self and memory is confusing and difficult for the individual and their loved ones through some of the more difficult aspects of dementia, says Dr. Amand, Psychiatrist and Medical Director. Providence Medical Center is a community hospital located in Kansas City, Kansas. Committed to excellence and award-winning patient care, Providence received an A grade on the 2023-24 Lown Institute Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility. Providence achieved this honor through strong performance across metrics of health equity, patient outcomes, and value of care, out of more than 3,600 hospitals nationwide. Providence has received a five-star rating from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The star award is given based on metrics such as mortality, readmission, patient safety and patient experience. Providence is also nationally recognized in multiple service lines, receiving 18 awards with eight Five-Star ratings, according to research released by Healthgrades.
For older adults, life can become quieter and lonely as the years go by. One way to combat this life change is by owning a pet. The health benefits of owning a pet for seniors far outweigh the work that goes into owning one.Our furry, feathery, or even scaly family members can provide a variety of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. The bond between seniors and their pets goes far beyond mere companionship. Here are some of the top health benefits of owning a pet for seniorsReduces Loneliness And IsolationAs they get older, many seniors experience feelings of social isolation and loneliness. This can lead to depression and other significant health problems. Having a pet, whether its a dog, cat, or even a bird, provides companionship and helps to reduce these feelings of isolation. Pets are loyal and loving, offering unconditional affection that can significantly improve your mental and emotional well-being.Increases Physical ActivityOne of the biggest benefits of owning a pet, particularly an active dog, is that it forces you to be physical. Dogs need to be walked, which in turn encourages regular physical activity on your part. Seniors with dogs are more likely to go for daily walks or play with them in the yard. Even this little bit of physical activity helps maintain mobility, joint flexibility, and cardiovascular health. In addition, physical activity of any kind leads to a stronger immune system and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.Lowers Stress And AnxietySimply looking at a picture of a little puppy or kitten is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Studies show that petting a dog or cat can trigger the release of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. It also increases the feel good hormone dopamine while decreasing the level of the stress hormone cortisol. This fluctuation helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, a pets rhythmic, soothing presence can help lower blood pressure, contributing to overall cardiovascular health.Boosts Mental AlertnessInteracting with pets can stimulate mental alertness and cognitive function. While training your pet and teaching them tricks helps to boost their mental capacity, it also helps to maintain your mental acuity. This mental stimulation can delay the onset of cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease.Fosters A Sense Of PurposeMost of us work hard and look forward to the day we can finally hang up our work boots and retire. However, when that day finally comes, many seniors often experience a diminished sense of purpose. Owning a pet can give you back a sense of responsibility and purpose. Caring for a pet requires routine tasks like feeding, grooming, and exercise, providing structure to your days and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.Enhances Social ConnectionsA study has shown pet owners are more apt to meet their neighbors than non-pet owners. Pets make great icebreakers for seniors when they are out on walks or at pet-friendly facilities. This can give you an opportunity to connect with others and strike up a conversation.Reduces The Risk Of Allergies And AsthmaAlthough it sounds like it would be the opposite, having a pet has been found to reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma the older we get. This can be an added health benefit for seniors who have had pets throughout their lives.Get Your Purrfect CompanionOwning a pet can do wonders for your health and well-being. These little bundles of joy enrich seniors lives in ways that extend far beyond companionship. The emotional, physical, and mental health benefits of having a pet cannot be argued or overlooked. Seniors who share their lives with a furry friend often experience reduced stress, increased physical activity, enhanced emotional well-being, and a greater sense of purpose. This article was submitted by VIPCare. For more information visit the website: getvipcare.com