No matter how often you get sick, it’s important to have a primary care physician. This means you have a specific doctor to visit when you do get sick, injured, or have other medical concerns.
What is a Primary Care Physician?
Primary care physicians are your “first contact” doctor; their office is the one you call when you start to feel sick, need continual care, or if you are injured. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and check your vital signs: heartbeat, temperature, lungs, and overall appearance. They can then decide if any further tests should be performed such as scans, urine, or blood. If you already have a medical condition like sickness, disease, or injury, the doctor can monitor this and prescribe medication or treatment if necessary. Primary care physicians provide care to everyone, including babies, children, adolescents, and adults.
How to Prepare for Your Next Appointment
- Make sure that your symptoms are bad enough to warrant medical care. If you have a basic cold – runny nose, sore throat or cough, or a slight fever – this will usually resolve itself in a few days, or you can buy over-the-counter medicine. When more severe symptoms like vomiting, a high fever, an extreme sore throat or cough, or diarrhea last over a week, you should schedule an appointment. If you can remember, explain to your doctor when the symptoms started. If you’re experiencing pain, try to recall where the pain started or if it moved to different parts of your body.
- If you take any medications or vitamins, write them down so your doctor knows what you are putting into your system. You should also make sure to tell them about any allergies you have like seasonal, animal, food, and especially allergies to medications. If you have any questions or concerns, write these down too! Your primary care physician is there to make sure you are living your healthiest life, and they will be happy to answer your questions.
- Be honest – and don’t be embarrassed. Your doctor is not going to judge you! In order for them to make the best decisions regarding your health, tell them about your activities, exercise, diet, drinking or drug habits, and any other relevant information they ask for. What you say to them will be kept confidential and will benefit you overall.
- Bring a family member or friend with you. If you have are nervous, someone you are close to will help you feel more comfortable. They can also help to make sure you remember everything that you wanted to tell or ask your doctor about.
- If you have vision or hearing problems, make sure you come prepared with hearing aids or someone to translate if necessary. If there is a language barrier, you can also request an interpreter when you call your doctor’s office.
- Sometimes you have to switch doctors. When you are meeting with a new physician for the first time, make certain you write down as much of your medical history as you can remember, or request records to be sent from your previous provider’s office.
At MCR Health, we are here for you. A private, not-for-profit healthcare system, we are located in more than 30 healthcare centers, 13 pharmacies, and 2 mobile units. If you’re searching for a primary care physician, we would be happy to serve you. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions!