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Primary Care Blog

  • Key points:

    • Wear a mask. 
    • Stay in your homegroup.
    • Stay six feet away from others.
    • If you get sick, isolate at home. 
      Stay in touch with your doctor.
    • If you are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine. 
    • If you have the virus, you can still infect others. 
      Even if you feel fine.
    • You are not alone. Help is available. 

    If you get sick:  

    The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are: 

    • Runny Nose
    • Congestion
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or Body Aches
    • Loss of Taste or Smell
    • Sore Throat
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea

    Stay home except to get medical care. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness. 
    Most people recover without medical care. 

    Go to the emergency department if you have serious symptoms:

    • Trouble Breathing
    • Pain or Pressure in Chest
    • New Confusion
    • Inability to Wake Up or Inability to Stay Awake
    • Blue-Colored Lips or Face

    Call 911. Notify the operator that you or the other person may have COVID-19. This list does not include all possible serious symptoms. Call your medical provider for symptoms that are concerning. 

    If the symptoms are not serious, call your physician. Do not go there without calling. If it’s an emergency, call 911. Tell them your symptoms.  

    If you do not have a primary care provider (PCP):

    Take care of yourself. Rest, eat well, stay warm, and drink plenty of water. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications. 

    Monitor your symptoms. Get care immediately if you are having serious symptoms. 

    Stay in touch with your doctor. Please do not call the health department with questions about your care. 

            

    If you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should ISOLATE:

    • For 10 days after your test or after the beginning of symptoms, avoid contact with other members of your household and pets. Stay in a separate room. Sleep in a separate room. Use a separate bathroom, if possible. Do not share personal items, like towels or utensils. Do not go anywhere, including school or work. Wear a mask when around others. 
    • Tell your household and close contacts to quarantine (see below).
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks). Include the bathroom if sharing with others. 
    • Cover your cough or sneezes with a tissue and throw it away. Wash your hands with soap and running water after touching the tissue. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
    • If you must leave isolation, wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from others, wash your hands frequently, and clean all touched surfaces.
    • Even if you do not feel sick, you can spread COVID-19 to others. Protect everyone as though they could become seriously ill.
    • Information from the CDC on isolation is at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html

    If you are not sick but have to QUARANTINE: 

    • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact a person with COVID-19. Do not go to work or to school, and do not run errands or visit with friends. 
    • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If any of these occur, notify your physician. 
    • If possible, stay away from others in your home, especially people who are at high risk.
    • Consider getting a COVID-19 diagnostic test 5 to 7 days after the last exposure.
    • People who are unable to safely isolate or quarantine should call their doctor, or for Erie County residents, call (716) 858-2929. 

    If you were tested for COVID-19:

    • If you have symptoms, stay home. 
    • If you were in contact with someone with COVID-19, stay home.
    • Otherwise, wear a mask, stay six feet from others, and stay in your homegroup. 
    • If you were tested for a procedure and you have no symptoms, you do not need to stay home.

    When the test results come, discuss them with your doctor.

    If your test is positive...

    A government contact tracer will call you.

    Notify people you’ve been in contact with. Tell them to quarantine and to call their doctor. Tell them to consider getting a COVID-19 test. 

    If you have symptoms stay home until:

    • You feel better.
    • It’s been 10 days since you got sick. 
    • You had no fever for one day.
    • You haven’t taken fever medicine for 24 hours.

    If you do not have symptoms:

    • Stay home for 10 days after the test.

    If your test is negative...

    And you were in contact with someone with COVID-19:

    • You could still have COVID-19.
    • Stay home for 14 days after you saw the person. 

    And you have symptoms: 

    Talk to your doctor. While you have symptoms, stay away from work and school. Stay away from other public places. Consider getting another test.

    And you do not have symptoms, protect yourself like always: 

    • Keep to your homegroup.
    • Stay six feet away from others.
    • Wear a mask.

    If you do not have enough food, or you need health insurance, legal help or anything else:

    • There is a list of community resources on the Erie County health department’s website:https://www2.erie.gov/health/coronavirus
    • If you are in isolation or quarantine and need help with basic needs, call 2-1-1(www.211wny.org) 
      or the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at 858.2929.

    If you want or need a test: 

    If you want more information, call your doctor, the county, or the state: 

    • Erie County Department of Health COVID-19 Information Line: 858.2929; 
      Foreign language interpreting available (open 8:00 am - 8:00 pm M-F and 8:00 am - 12:00 pm Sat-Sun)
    • NYSDOH COVID-19 Information Line: 888.364.3065; Ask a Question Online at NYSDOH COVID-19 Website

    You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 at: 


  • All year long, Western New Yorkers have one thing on our mind. I hear it time and time again as I sit down and talk to my patients on a daily basis. 

    “WHEN WILL SUMMER BE HERE?”

    The first moment the sun shows up and we feel the warmth, albeit only 50 degrees and sunny, we let our skin show. Now as the summer days are long, and the sun is bright, we stay outdoors as long as we can. We are so grateful to finally have warmth on our bodies that we forget about sun safety.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provide wonderful reminders to keep our skin safe while still enjoying those warm and kind sun rays.

    They remind us first and foremost that ultraviolet (UV) rays are part of sunlight that is an invisible type of radiation. UVA and UVB cause aging and damage to the skin cells and are the most dangerous and cancer-causing types of sun rays. We also know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The most common types of skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

    In order to protect our patients and ourselves, there are several things we can do to minimize our risk of skin damage. They include regular and routine use of broad-spectrum SPF 15 or greater sunscreen even when in the shade. Remember to reapply if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Wear clothing made from tightly woven cloth with SPF protection when possible, stay in the shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses that preferably block UVA and UVB rays. 

    Lastly, if you do get too much sun, by accident of course, here are some simple tips to help your body recover: stay hydrated to prevent fluid loss, comfort skin burns with cool baths or clothes, take over-the-counter Tylenol or ibuprofen for fever or headaches, and remain out of the sun until you are feeling better.

    Katherine Sumner, PA-C is accepting new patients at 1091 Main Street, Suite 301, Buffalo. For more information on health safety or if you are worried about damage to your skin, call our office at 716.248.1420 to schedule an appointment.


  • Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Visiting your primary care physician might just help you change that. It’s good practice to call your doctor when you’re feeling under the weather, but it’s an even better practice to call your doctor before you’re sick.

    Preventative care is a critical part of your overall health and well being. Your primary care physician isn’t here just to help you when you’re sick, they’re here to keep you from getting sick by keeping a watchful eye over your health.


  • Linda Fuller, ANP-BC, CDCES, has been taking care of people for about two-thirds of her life. She became a registered nurse in 1982 and has worked as a visiting nurse and in doctors’ offices and hospitals throughout Chautauqua County for her whole career. 

    The more Linda works with her patients, the more she wants to be able to help them. Since the ’80s she had seen an increasing number of people coming in with severe diabetes that affects every aspect of their lives, so in 2008, she studied to become a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. 

    In this role, she works one-on-one with each patient to manage their individual diabetes risk factors and symptoms to reduce the effects of the disease. But as a nurse without a prescribing license, Linda wasn’t able to help manage her patients’ medications – an important part of controlling diabetes for many. She went back to school to become an Adult Nurse Practitioner, which now allows her to meet all of her patients’ diabetes and overall health needs. 

    Born and raised in Randolph, Linda is a country person who comes from a farming family and firmly believes that a day out in the fresh air and sunshine is some of the best medicine. She’s an avid crafter who makes most of the gifts she gives to friends and family (whether they like it or not, she jokes). She’s kept company by her two dogs – an 11-pound Yorkipoo and a 145-pound St. Weiler (a cross between a St. Bernard and a Rottweiler). 

     

    3898 Vineyard Dr., Ste. 1, Dunkirk, NY 14048 

    716.363.6960 

    To schedule an appointment, visit www.gppconline.com/scheduling 

    New Patients Welcome • Same-Day Appointments Available 


  • According to the CDC, diabetes affects more than 122 million Americans today, this includes both diabetes and prediabetes. It takes an incredible amount of work to keep your diabetes under control, and for the average person, managing diabetes is no small feat. Here are a few tips:

    Know Your Numbers

    After consulting with your doctor about your blood glucose targets, check them frequently to learn your trends. Your doctor will check your A1C every three months to determine your average blood glucose level. Also, check with your doctor on your blood pressure and cholesterol targets to keep those under control. Knowledge is power, and this will help you manage your diabetes. 

    Get Active

    It is essential to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. COVID-19 may keep us socially distanced, but getting outside to walk just 10-15 minutes each day can significantly improve your health. Regular exercise has been shown to improve blood glucose levels and is an excellent tool for diabetes management. 

    Eat Right

    Healthy eating is a huge part of diabetes management. Food is a powerful tool, and it is essential to fuel your body with healthy foods to keep blood glucose levels low. Incorporating foods that are naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is an excellent place to start!

    Take a Diabetes Education Class

    Classes are led and taught by Certified Diabetes Educators and are offered to the community in 4-week sessions. These classes can help you learn how your diet impacts your diabetes, how to plan healthy meals and snacks, interpret your blood glucose and A1C readings, find group support, and more.

    Virtual Diabetes Classes:

    December Session: 2, 9, 16, and 23,
    January/February Session: Jan 20 and 27, and Feb 3 and 10 
    Wednesday nights from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. 
    Call our Williamsville office at 716.631.8400 to register or if you have any questions.

    Dunkirk - In-Person Diabetes Classes

    February Session: 2, 9, 16, 23 
    Tuesday nights from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    3898 Vineyard Drive, Suite 1 
    Dunkirk, NY 14048
    Call our Dunkirk office at 716.363-6960 to register or if you have any questions

    Or click here for more information: www.gppconline.com/specialties/clinical-support/nutrition-services

    Don't Stress

    Managing diabetes can seem overwhelming. If you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, give your doctor a call. They can provide assistance and additional resources. You are not alone.

    See Your Doctor

    Get your flu shot and stay up-to-date on all other vaccinations. Make sure you have an annual foot and eye exam and check your feet daily to make sure there are no cuts, redness, swelling, corns, calluses, or sores. See your doctor regularly to eliminate any potential health risks that may arise with diabetes.

    Use this month to take some time to reflect on your diabetes management and continue to be vigilant in your care. Diabetes can feel overwhelming at times, but remember, it is a disease that can be controlled!

     

    Resources: 

    www.diabetes.org/diabetes

    www.cdc.gov/diabetes/index.html


  • Disney World closed. Broadway closed. The NBA, NHL, MLB, XFL, and NLL all suspended. Here in Buffalo, The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a cultural must in our town, cancelled.

    COVID-19 is here, and it is here for the foreseeable future. At General Physician, PC, we are working every day to make sure not only our patients, providers and staff are informed and well-prepared, but also our community at large.


  • Many people often complain of leg pain that is accompanied by leg swelling, heaviness, cramping, itching, varicose veins, skin discoloration, hair loss, and/or ulceration. Some people will experience pain at rest or pain with activity. Disease states that are responsible for these symptoms are related to disorders of the arteries and veins of the legs. 

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Blood clots in the leg, also called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), can form in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis. DVT is caused by prolonged rest or travel, family history, obesity, pregnancy, blood disorders, and cancer. When clots form they block the flow of blood from the lower extremity back to the heart. This produces leg swelling and heaviness which then leads to leg pain, warmth, and redness. These blood clots can travel from the leg to the lung and cause blood clots trapped in the pulmonary arteries, called a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) producing shortness of breath and chest pain. This can be life threatening and must be treated emergently. Call 911 if you think you may be suffering from a PE. Untreated DVT can also cause post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) which results when DVT causes long-term damage to the valves in the veins. Symptoms of PTS include pain, swelling, discoloration, scaling of the skin and ulcers. In some cases, PTS can lead to permanent disability. 

    Treatment for DVT includes blood thinners and minimally invasive surgery. If medication doesn’t work or symptoms are too severe minimally invasive surgery using advanced medical technology can rapidly remove the blood clot from the veins restoring blood flow, resolve the symptoms, and prevent PE and PTS. The goal of treatment is the rapid relief of symptoms and improvement in the quality of life.

    DVT prevention is also critical. The best thing you can do is keep mobile and hydrated during times of rest. Squeezing your calves or flexing your calves and wearing compression stockings can keep blood flow moving. Stay hydrated, make sure you drink at least four 16 oz bottles of water a day. This will keep your blood thin.

    Venous Insufficiency

    Veins that can no longer return the blood back to the heart are called insufficient. This can be caused by prolonged standing or sitting, previous DVT, family history, and obesity. Veins have one-way valves that direct the flow back to the heart. When these veins become damaged, like from DVT or from prolonged standing, they can no longer direct flow back to the heart, and the blood pools in the feet and ankles resulting in leg pain at rest, leg swelling, heaviness, and varicose veins. When this goes on for too long it can result in skin discoloration, skin thickening and ulcerations. Sometimes small blood clots form in the varicose veins causing inflammation and pain. In some cases, this can lead to permanent disability.

    Treatment of Venous Insufficiency is done using compression stockings and minimally invasive techniques using a small catheter to close the diseased vein by using heat or glue. This a rapid and efficient treatment that will reroute blood from your legs to your heart using healthy veins significantly improving your symptoms. 

    Venous Insufficiency prevention is critical. The best thing you can do is wear compression stockings if you are in jobs that require prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, intense labor, or lifting heavyweight. Take a rest when you can!

    Peripheral Arterial Disease

    Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) occurs when the arteries become blocked or narrowed and can no longer deliver their cargo efficiently. Arteries of the leg are the delivery system of nutrients and blood to bone, muscle, and skin. Reduced blood flow can result in leg pain with activity, hair loss, loss of muscle tone, skin discoloration, and ulcerations. PAD is caused by plaque build-up in the artery the narrows the space within the artery and can eventually lead to artery blockage. This plaque buildup can be caused by genetics, family history, diet, smoking, chronic renal disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

    Claudication is a common presenting symptom of PAD. Claudication is described as pain with walking. If you develop muscle cramps and pain after walking short distances it can be a sign of arterial narrowing. Occasionally, the arteries can be blocked rapidly and cause quick onset leg pain that is unbearable called Acute Limb Ischemia. This should be treated emergently. If your leg has suddenly turned blue or pale in color, has lost a pulse, feels numb or overly sensitive call 911. 

    Critical Limb Ischemia is commonly seen in people that have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and who smoke cigarettes. The common symptoms are pain at rest, muscle wasting, and ulcerations.

    Treatment of PAD is done using medication and minimally invasive surgery with catheters to restore the normal size of the artery to return normal blood flow to the leg. Medication is used to thin the blood to prevent blood clots and reduce plaque build-up which usually are lifelong medications. In some cases, untreated PAD can lead to permanent disability.

    PAD prevention is also very critical. Maintaining a healthy active lifestyle is the best choice you can make. Activity and exercise promote arterial health. A heart-healthy diet or caloric restricted diet is important to keep weight off and prevent plaque build-up. You should not smoke and if you do, I encourage you to quit. There are many support groups and medications that can help you fight the urge and be smoke-free.

    Vascular Interventional Radiology is the future.

    At Great Lakes Medical Imaging, our Vascular Interventional Radiologists are here for you now. They are highly trained physicians that have expertise in the latest methods to manage and treat arterial and venous disease using x-ray technology and minimally invasive surgery with small catheters – thin tubes that are threaded through the diseased vessel to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Call Dr. Chohan and his team of Vascular Interventional Radiologists at 716-836-4646 to speak more about leg pain and if there is a treatment option for you!

    Great Lakes Medical Imaging www.greatlakesmedicalimaging.com


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