Here at Ravalli Family Medicine, we encourage our patients to become educated about their health. That starts with signing up for internet based access to your medical records. All patients with an email address can sign up for this service. Access Webview here.
The internet is also full of resources to assist in becoming and staying healthy. A few of the websites that we encourage our patients to utilize include:
You came to Ravalli Family Medicine for your routine check-up. We ran some tests, told you everything looked good, and you thought that was the end. Then you received a medical bill from a facility you’ve never been to! What’s going on?
When we run tests, they are often sent to outside sources for processing. Sometimes we bill you directly for these tests, but often we will allow the other facility to bill you for the services they’ve rendered. Because we’ve put the billing in their hands, when you call us with questions about your outside bill, we usually don’t have the answers. If you receive a bill from any of the following entities and you have questions or concerns, please call them directly.
2019 has brought one of the largest outbreaks of measles in the U.S. since it was declared eliminated from this country in 2000. Since Jan. 1, there have been 555 confirmed cases of measles in 20 different states (data as of April 11), and those numbers are rising quickly. Although there have been no confirmed cases of measles in the state of Montana in many years, it is always best to be prepared. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about measles to keep yourself and your family safe.
If you’ve gotten two doses of MMR vaccine, you are safe from measles. The CDC lists the measles vaccine as 93% effective after one dose and 97% effective after two. So if you are older than kindergarten age and fully vaccinated, you are likely immune.
Measles begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose, and irritated eyes (conjunctivitis). In this way, it may look like many other childhood illnesses when it first appears. However, 3-5 days after these first symptoms, the telltale measles rash will appear. The rash starts at the hairline and on the face and descends to the trunk and shoulders, and may eventually spread to the limbs.
Measles is highly contagious. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and can live in the air of an infected area for up to 2 hours. It is so contagious that it will infect 9 out of 10 susceptible people who come in contact with an infected person. For this reason, those infected with measles must remain isolated until they can no longer spread the disease. The infectious period of measles runs from four days before until four days after the rash appears.
Measles can be very serious. 1 out of 4 people with measles will be hospitalized for complications, most often pneumonia. Especially in young children, measles can also cause rare complications including encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and death. Newborns and children who are too young to have had two doses of the vaccine are most susceptible, as are those who are unvaccinated.
If an outbreak of measles does occur in Montana, the Department of Public Health will announce it and remind the public of the proper precautions. For now, the best way to protect your family from measles is to make sure everyone is up to date on their immunizations! For more information about measles and the MMR vaccine, visit the CDC’s website.
The “dog days of summer” are certainly upon us again and incidence of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are rising. It is important to know the difference between these two heat related illnesses and how to prevent and treat them in the field before one gets to a medical facility.
Most women are accustomed to being screened for breast cancer with mammography and cervical cancer with pap smear testing. But, many women forget that they are at risk of diseases that have nothing to do with their gender, such as heart disease.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. People set up the new exercise equipment they got for Christmas or dust off their running shoes and get back to the gym. Diets come and go while we try to find the easy solution to weight loss. This time of year, it is helpful to look not just at exercise and food, but also at alcohol consumption.