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When to See Your Primary Care Physician

When you are feeling sick, you shouldn’t feel unsure about when to see your primary care physician for your symptoms too. Whether you, a friend, or a family member is sick, it’s important to know when to seek medical advice and when staying home and resting is sufficient. In all cases, be sure to listen to your body and respect how you are feeling and if you aren’t sure, call your doctor.

When to see your PCP:

  1. Do you have a new symptom? A bug like the cold is easy to identify because of its typical symptoms: sluggishness, stuffy nose, and congestion. But the addition of a new symptom like a red sore throat or vomiting could be an indicator that it’s time to see your PCP. Not sure your symptom merits a visit? Try calling your doctor’s office to discuss. You can often talk to a nurse or doctor to determine if you need a visit.
  2. Are your symptoms persisting, rather than improving? You may have tried some over the counter drugs to reduce a fever or calm a nauseated stomach. But if they persist or you don’t see improvement in your symptoms in a normal amount of time, call your PCP and schedule an appointment to review your symptoms.
  3. Have you seen a doctor in the past 12 months? You don’t always need to feel sick to see your doctor. Annual check-ups can help detect concerns that you may not have noticed yet, like high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, or a blackish mole with melanoma. The yearly health screening includes tests that will screen for many diseases and help you to detect problems early on.
  4. Do you have a doctor? There are many people who don’t have a primary care physician. The time to get one isn’t when you are sick; it’s when you are feeling OK. If you don’t have a doctor and are looking for the right time to make an introductory appointment, there is no time like the present.

When you are sick, it’s important that you don’t ignore your symptoms and you seek medical help when you need it. Making an appointment with your family doctor is the first step and if you need the help of an expert, your PCP can refer you to the right specialist.

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