Written by Thrive’s Director of Primary Care Services, Becky Barnett, P.A.-C
WHAT IS PRIMARY CARE?
Primary care is a field of medicine that involves preventive care, wellness counseling, and treatment of common illnesses. A primary care provider typically provides services that are not specialized but instead revolve around general health and wellness. Examples of primary care include general physicals, pap smears, diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses, and basic in-office procedures. Primary care providers may have a health category they specialize in and feel more comfortable performing in, so it is important to meet your provider before initiating services to ensure they can provide what you are looking for.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN?
Now, we live in an era of teledoc and urgent care. While it’s awesome that we have such quick and efficient means of being taken care of, having a relationship with a health care provider is important to navigate specialized and holistic care because the provider knows YOU, not just your health condition. They know your family history, your habits, and your lifestyle, and all of these aspects are important factors in caring for someone as a unique individual.
WHAT MAKES THRIVE’S PRIMARY CARE SERVICES UNIQUE?
At Thrive Wellness, we believe strongly in making connections with our patients. We believe in treating our patients holistically because we recognize that each individual is unique. We spend extra time during our visits to ensure we are addressing all of someone’s questions and concerns. We truly view our roles as health care providers as being important members of a person’s life team.
In providing holistic health care, it means we are not just looking at a person as the illness they present with, rather we are taking into account the whole person: their lifestyle, their personality, their work/school schedule, their family lives, and much more. An integrated approach helps shape health care around a person’s individual situation, typically ensuring greater success. Although we are all individuals with different lives, we are all part of a community, and as such we must integrate and interact with one another. Keeping ourselves healthy inherently assists in keeping those we come in contact with healthy, helping to keep the community healthier as a whole.
WHY IS PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE IMPORTANT?
Preventing and mitigating disease and illness benefits a person’s quality of life and is far less expensive than dealing with the impacts that illness can have. If we know a person is at potential risk for disease by family history, lifestyle choices, and by watching their lab trends, it is far more cost-effective and requires fewer office visits to intervene with lifestyle changes and/or incorporating medications than it is to be diagnosed with a disease that requires frequent visits and more specialized management.
HOW CAN I STAY HEALTHY THIS FLU SEASON?
Hand washing is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent illnesses that tend to peak in the fall and winter months. In the colder weather, we spend more time in enclosed areas with potentially sick people, so it is important to consider social distancing and even mask-wearing (despite our mask fatigue from COVID).
Flu shots are also an important part of staying healthy, as flu strains vary from year to year and can make some people very sick, sometimes even culminating in hospitalization and/or death. Flu virus particles are emitted via laughing, coughing, sneezing, and even talking. As an airborne virus, the flu can linger in the air for up to an hour and for up to a day on surfaces. The best way to avoid coming in contact with these particles is to stay at least six feet away from other people, wear masks in crowded areas, and be sure to wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before touching your mouth or nose.