Shingles

Shingles rash

Shingles typically appear in a belt like rash on the torso, neck, or face.

Though we may hear the term “Shingles” used off and on in today’s world, I find that few actually understand what the viral infection Shingles is. Shingles comes from the Varicella-Zoster virus, the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. Once a person has contracted Chicken Pox, the virus actually remains dormant in the nerve tissue around the spinal cord and brain. Should the virus “awaken”, the person will contract Shingles. Most adults these days have had Chicken Pox, and therefore already house the virus capable of causing Shingles. This will change in coming years as now the Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccine is common in today’s childhood immunizations. If you are an adult and have never had Chicken Pox, it is a good idea to get immunized.

Shingles is often painful, often characterized by sharp pains, burning, and numbness, typically in a belt that wraps around one side of the abdomen. Shingles is not limited to this area though, and can even develop on the face, neck, or near the eyes. The pain associated with Shingles typically surfaces first, followed by a rash that in turn blisters. Once the rash has blistered, it is in fact contagious. Should someone contract the virus from the blister, they will develop Chicken Pox, not Shingles. Once the blisters scab over, you should no longer be contagious.

If you experience a painful, blistering rash on a side of your body, face, or neck, oftentimes accompanied by fever, sensitivity to light, fatigue, or headache, it is highly recommended you contact your doctor. Though there is no cure for Shingles, the sooner it is detected and treatment is administered,  the lower the likelihood of complications. If left untreated, the Shingles virus can cause vision damage, skin infection, nerve problems, and lasting pain. It is especially important to note, that if you are above the age of 70, have a weakened immune system, or are in direct contact with someone with a weakened immune system, OR if your rash is near your eyes, you seek medical attention immediately. All of these situations can lead to severe complications if left untreated. Typically upon seeking medical treatment, an antiviral is prescribed, and depending on severity, something to help alleviate discomfort. The lifespan of Shingles typically runs anywhere from two to six weeks.

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, we highly recommend you seek medical attention. If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, please call Dr. Holt with your symptoms, and he will be happy to advise your next course of action. If you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer members unlimited monthly office visits with no copay, same or next day appointments, longer appointment times, and 24/7 access to the doctor! 417-485-4847

 

Weight Loss

Weight Loss Goals VIP Medical Services

There are many motivations to lose weight

As the weather turns warmer and the sun makes its’ presence more known, it’s not unusual for our thoughts to drift to images of beaches, lakes, boating, and inevitably… swim suits, shorts, and tank tops. If the thought of that apparel after a long winter and holiday indulgence makes you shudder, you’re not alone. By now, we may have slid off the wagon a bit on our well intentioned, albeit lofty, New Year’s Weight Loss Resolutions. We are back to the daily grind, and oftentimes, our health or weight loss goals get put on the back burner.weight loss scale

Though we may not be making weight loss progress like we would like, that doesn’t make the desire to be fitter, healthier versions of ourselves any less real. Some of us just need to shed our holiday weight, others are looking to get back to a pre baby physique, and some are in the pursuit of a “beach body”. Others of us, however, are hoping to alleviate back, joint, and muscle pain, some of us would desperately like to get our Type 2 Diabetes under control, and others are just hoping to find a way to manager their high cholesterol and blood pressure without more medication. It’s amazing how many different situations and needs can be solved with weight loss. Of course, the million dollar question is… how?? We have probably all tried at least some diet or weight loss technique, so what are we going to do this time? How are we going to successfully lose weight quickly? Luckily there are several ways to go about it, depending on your own personal situation and preferences.

  • Reduce Calorie Intake, Increase Calories Burned
    • The most traditional method of weight loss, tracking your calorie intake and staying between 1200-1500 calories a day, while increasing your calories burned via exercise, provides a safe, gradual weight loss. This is only effective if you consciously monitor how many calories you consumer, and exercise regularly to burn calories.
  • Follow an Exclusion Diet
    • Several diets exist in which you do not count calories, but you exclude certain food groups. Some include eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, dairy, and more. This is often difficult for people to eliminate entire groups of food and can end in regaining weight one the diet period is over.
  • Weight Loss Medication
    • Today’s market is flooded with diet pills and supplements. Many promise weight loss fast with little to no effort on the part of the consumer, other than using the product. However, there are actually prescription medications designed for this purpose also. If you feel that this is the best route for you, please consult with your doctor to find the best, safest fit for you.
  • Regimented Diet Programs
    • For those that find measuring, calculating, and cooking to be overwhelming and ineffective, there are still options! Some diets provide your food and plans for you to be successful. Most of these plans require consumption of several meals of the plan’s food daily, and then ideas and regulations for foods you prepare for yourself.weight loss jeans

In any weight loss quest, it is best to consult your doctor first. If you are experiencing rapid weight loss, it is important to monitor your health and ensure you aren’t losing any key nutrients in the process. At VIP Medical Services, we offer several different ways for our members to pursue their weight loss goals. In addition to exploring weight loss medications, we also offer a medically supervised weight loss plan that pairs very low calorie meal supplement items with weekly weigh ins, monitoring, and coaching. If weight loss is a goal of yours, give us a call at 417-485-4847 to see how we can help! In addition, if you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer a higher standard of primary care at affordable prices.

 

Flu Shots

Believe it or not… it is THAT time of year again. The coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and sore throats are already making their way through our schools and homes. With this time of year, we begin to see such symptoms and start fearing the dreaded flu. How do we protect ourselves and our families from such sickness? While there are certain healthy life choices we can make to lessen our odds, our best option is the flu shot. While the flu shot is not a catchall, it drastically reduces our odds of contracting the worst forms of the flu. Many people have misconceptions on what the shot does and does not do, so let’s approach what the flu shot is, what it does, and why it may be a good choice for you.

Flu Shots Ozark MO

Flu Season is upon us, time for flu shots!

The flu vaccine comes in two forms: injection and nasal mist, both of which will protect against the H1N1 strain of flu as well as several other strains predicted to circulate this year. The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone ages 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine, but how you receive it may be up to you. The injection form of the vaccine contains an inactive form of the virus, and is safe for people 6 months and older. Since with this form you receive an inactive virus, you cannot transmit the flu to anyone. Some may opt for the nasal mist vaccine, available to healthy people ages 2-49. The nasal mist is given through a spray (no shot needed) which contains a weakened, yet live, flu virus. In rare cases the flu can be transmitted to others with this option. In either case, the vaccine allows your body to develop antibodies necessary to ward off the flu virus.

I often hear people say they don’t get the flu vaccine, because they got it once and then got the flu. The flu vaccine will never give you the flu, however, there may be some reasons why people think this. Some people have a reaction to the vaccine, therefore having muscle soreness and fever for a few days, and those that receive the mist may even have runny nose, congestion, headache, and sore throat. This is just the body adjusting to the vaccine. In addition, the vaccine takes about 2 weeks to become totally effective, so if you are exposed to the virus during that window, you could get the flu (just another reason to get vaccinated early!). The flu vaccine is created months before flu season hits, therefore it is possible that the strains the vaccine is built to protect against may not be those that circulate, making contracting the flu a possibility. Last, many sicknesses mimic the flu, but are not influenza itself, often leading people to believe they have the flu.

Assuming the flu strains that circulate this year are covered by the vaccine, the vaccine is 71% effective in adults, 77% in adults 50+, and 74% effective in children. These odds are definitely great enough to see the value in receiving the vaccine. Even if you have had the vaccine in the past, it is important you get it again this year, as the vaccine is always changing to make sure it protects against relevant strains of the virus, not to mention, the effectiveness of old vaccines decrease over time. If you pair the vaccine with healthy choices like regular hand washing, using alcohol based sanitizer, avoid touching your face, as well as keeping yourself healthy with plenty of sleep, exercise, fluids, nutritious foods, and stress management, you should be able to face flu season with confidence.

If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, feel free to call Dr. Holt or the office with further questions. If you are looking for a new Primary Care provider, consider making VIP Medical Services your healthcare home! We offer a higher standard of primary care at affordable prices. 417-485-4847