Love, joy, happiness and peace are the ingredients for a wonderful Christmas. We hope you find them all festive season. We at Physicians First Messages want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
Not many people like going to the doctor.
And when seeing your physician has to do with the prostate, you can double that notion.
Hey, we get it. The digital rectal exam is not like going to Disney World. There’s no need to get into details.
But Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that if you’re, obviously, a man that’s at least 50-years-old,
getting an annual exam and ensuing PSA test are not only important, but they could save your life.
Here’s a few facts and recommendations that could be helpful:
For starters, did you know prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States? Yes, it’s true.
And to boot, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. In fact, according to WebMD, out of every
100 men over the age of 60, six will have prostate cancer before their 70th birthday.
Unfortunately, there’s no specific way to prevent prostate cancer, but many studies suggest diet plays a key role.
Here’s the first helpful tip: Did you know that men who consume tomatoes, watermelon and other red foods, all of
which include an antioxidant called lycopene, have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer?
Eating fish, drinking green tea and even coffee are also believed to be good in preventing prostate cancer as well.
And how about this one: Eat more garlic. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute recently published a study
that found men who consume 10 or more grams of garlic or scallions per day decrease their risk of developing
prostate cancer by approximately 50 percent compared to those who eat less than two grams.
Obviously, keep those breath mints handy if you decide to follow the previous recommendation.
No shock here … those who smoke are prone to get prostate cancer in a more aggressive form.
Another reason to kick the smoking habit!
And it is recommended that men at high risk, such as African American men and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer, begin testing at age 45.
Leading a healthy lifestyle, such as daily exercising, is also believed to help prevent getting prostate cancer.
Listen, following any of the previous suggestions can certainly help.
And if nothing else, eating healthy will help you physically in a number of ways, not just preventing prostate cancer.
But the most important thing is, get your annual examination and PSA blood test, no matter how much it makes you cringe.
Remember, the earlier you know, the better the chance you’ll survive.
Owner and operator
It’s November folks and you know what that means.
No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving or the possibility you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet.
I’m talking the I word … Influenza. And how you, like a number of people, are wrestling with the idea of getting the flu shot or not.
Well, while you’re deciding, Physicians First Messages wants to provide you with a few facts you might want to know before you ultimately make that decision.
For starters, according to WebMD, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized annually in the United States because of influenza and, sadly, up to 49,000 die each year because of flu-related causes.
Many believe prevention is the key. Ideally, WebMD suggests getting your annual shot by Thanksgiving. The flu season is considered to be between October and May.
Contrary to popular belief getting the flu shot can NOT give you the flu. The vaccine is made with a dead or weakened form of the flu virus which can’t give you influenza.
Oh, you don’t like the fact that you need to get vaccinated every year? Well it’s a must, considering flu viruses change. Therefore, flu vaccines must also change since each vaccine is unique, according to what health officials believe will be most threatening each year.
It’s been long suggested that people allergic to eggs should avoid the flu shot, BUT, according to WebMD, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology believes the vaccine contains such a low amount of egg protein that it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. You should, however, talk to your doctor first if you have a
severe egg allergy. There are, by the way, vaccines without the use of eggs available.
It should be noted that there are other options if you are not enamored with getting a shot.
The nasal spray FluMist vaccine is approved for healthy, non-pregnant adults up to 49-years-old. However, it is NOT recommended for the 2016-17 flu season, according to WebMD.
There is also a needle-less option for people between 18-64-years-old … the jet injector vaccine with Alfuria, which uses a tool and high pressure to deliver the vaccine.
Remember, there’s the possibility of side effects including low-grade fever and soreness. However those symptoms usually only last a day or two. In addition, keep in mind that it takes up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to kick in.
Is the flu shot for you? That’s up for you to decide, but Physicians First Messages is happy to help make your choice easier.
Owner and operator
Unfortunately, everybody eventually crosses paths with Father Time.
And this is especially true where our bodies are concerned.
Do you know the expression, ‘out of sight, out of mind?’ Well, when was the last time you thought about your bones? You know, the hard, whitish tissue that makes up the skeleton inside your body.
Chances are, you haven’t given much thought about them unless you’ve had a specific problem, like breaking one. But Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that you should be leery of bone disease called Osteoporosis.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.
The NOF says about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Suffice it to say, the older you get, the more prone you are to contract osteoporosis.
What are the risk factors, you ask? Well, according to WebMD, age (bone mass begins to decline after age 30); gender (women over the age of 50 have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis, and are four times more likely to develop it then men); ethnicity (research has shown that Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop
osteoporosis) and bone structure and body weight (petite and thin women have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis) are some of the major factors.
In addition, prior history of breaking bones, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are other factors.
So what can we do to prevent and/or treat such a common disease?
Well treatments include the consumption of calcium and vitamin D; weight-bearing exercise, prevention of falls and bone-friendly medicines.
Nutrition and osteoporosis are closely linked, according to WebMD. If you're not getting the right nutrients, whether in your diet or through supplements, you're putting yourself at greater risk for osteoporosis.
Physicians First Messages urges you not to wait for something to happen before you act on osteoporosis. Don’t wait to break a bone via an accidental fall.
Ask your doctor for other ways you can avoid this possible painful disease. In the long run, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Owner and operator
It’s time to think pink again.
And in doing so, you’ll without a doubt be aiding a worthy cause.
October, of course, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Physicians First
Messages is here to remind you that you can help fight this horrible
disease in a number of ways, big or small.
And we’re going to throw out several ideas where you can possibly help run
a fund-raiser with all proceeds going toward a Breast Cancer charity.
First and foremost, it doesn’t hurt to wear pink, whether it’s part of your
clothes, a pin, a ribbon or whatever. The mere sight of the color pink is a
reminder that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you never know when
someone else will be influenced by it.
Ok, and as for the fund-raising events, for starters, how about running a
car wash with all the washers clad in pink. Hey, everybody needs their car
washed and when people see that it’s for a good cause, perhaps they’ll drop
How about contacting your school principal or the president of the PTA and
organizing a pink ‘dress-down day.’’ You arrange the fee … maybe $1-2 to
participate … and every student, teacher and school worker that takes part
will wear pink on the day chosen.
And while we’re on the subject of school, if the ‘dress-down day’’ doesn’t
come to fruition, how about an all-pink bake sale? Have participating
students donate baked goods, all in pink, of course, with the proceeds
You can, of course, form a team of runners and join a local road race with
sponsors promising x amount of money for every mile you run. Naturally,
while you compete, you’ll be donned in pink.
Want to do something fun without the hassle of setting and cleaning up? How
about organizing a Bowling Night? Perhaps you can get the local bowling
alley to donate a lane or two toward the cause. Anybody that participates
will donate a suggested price toward the cause with the proceeds, of
course, going to charity.
There’s a number of other things that can also be done, the key is getting
support behind your project and taking the time to plan. Now that it’s
October, there’s no better time to do so.
And, please keep in mind that it’s certainly worth your time and effort. In
case you didn’t know, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death
among women and, although it’s a rare occurrence, the disease can also
attack men as well.
Remember, the best way to fight Breast Cancer, as well as any other type of
cancer, is through early detection. Both women and men should have breast
self-exams or have a mammogram (an x-ray that allows a specialist to
examine breast tissue) annually.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., says that maintaining a
balanced diet and a healthy weight, living an active lifestyle (running or
playing tennis are just two examples) and refraining from smoking or
limiting alcohol intake can help reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.
Won’t you do your part in fighting such a terrible disease as Breast
Cancer? The time is right and Physicians First Messages encourages you to
get involved, no matter how big or small your contribution is.
Owner and operator
As Hurricane Matthew Threatens The East Coast, Who Are Patients Relying On If They Can't Reach Your Doctor?
Hurricane Matthew is in the headlines this week as the monster storm readies to make landfall. After the devastation it left behind in Haiti with deaths, power outages and flooding, many of us are only too familiar with storm preparation not just at our homes but our places of business. Just in the past few days we've been fielding dozens of calls from our clients all up and down the eastern seaboard along the storm's predicted path.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 14 years or so it’s that disaster can strike at any time.
Although we’d like to think we’ll never see anything similar to the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 or Hurricane Sandy again, truth of the matter is we just don’t know. Bottom line is, anything can happen at any time.
Unfortunately, following the 9/11 attacks, Physicians First Messages was ground zero and, in turn, all of our doctors’ offices were left without an answering service.
The good news is, PFMI took extreme measures to upgrade our system following the 9/11 tragedy and, I’m happy to inform you, that when Super storm Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012, our company didn’t miss a beat in terms of providing our usual, reliable service.
So, what exactly did we do when we rebuilt our system?
Well, for starters, our system is now up on two separate, secure servers and our off-premise site has three generators.
Secondly, our system is hosted at an off-premise location and monitored by on-site staff at all times, day and night.
In addition, the phone company has direct lines into our off-premise hosted system.
You’ll also be happy to know that all of our employees can access the system regardless of their location.
Unfortunately, when Hurricane Sandy hit our shores, Physicians First Messages was once again ground zero. But despite the fact our main office was under 10 feet of water, not one of our doctors’ offices was affected. With the aforementioned precautions we took anticipating possible disaster, not one of our customers were without service for even a second when all the other answering services in the metropolitan area were down.
Even though Hurricane Matthew's predicted track is along the Atlantic coastline, none of us can know the impact it will have or what effect it will have on us. Preparing for the storm is always the safe and smart bet. Simply, nobody can predict when and if a disaster similar to 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy will hit our area again. But if it should, you need to receive messages pertaining to your practice with the same prompt and professional service.
Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that you can rely on us to provide the service you expect in the face of disaster or not.
We're ready to answer your call, even if you can't. Above all, we ask you to stay safe!
Now that I’ve given you the skinny on how to protect yourself from the sun, it’s time to focus on another hot topic concerning these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
I’m talking about water, as in the ocean and swimming pool. They are, of course, two of the most common places people go to cool themselves down when the mercury rises.
And why not? If you choose to not to take advantage of cranking air conditioner indoors, then by all means should you slip into your bathing suit jump get to the nearest beach or pool.
But Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that exercising water safety is imperative for not only yourself, but your children as well. And we’re going to offer you some helpful tips that will make your water visit more enjoyable.
First and foremost, learning how to swim will greatly enhance your safety regardless if you’re in the ocean or pool. Next, if you're with children, put down that phone and designate a water watcher or two. 71% of the world is water and children are 100% curious.
As far as the beach is concerned, your safety check list should include the following:
1. Always place your beach blanket near a lifeguard. Because of the unpredictable nature of the ocean, you just never know when you might need one. In fact, being near a lifeguard greatly reduces the chance of a drowning accident. In addition, always be aware of the most current information concerning riptides.
2. Avoid using rafts, floaties or noodles as safety devices. The best rule of thumb is to only allow your children to use them as deep as their swimming skill allows them.
3. Choose footwear that best suits you.
4. Take a good, hard look at the beach safety signs. And remember, every beach is different, so enter the water knowing your surroundings.
5. Try not to stand in the water where the waves break and, of course, do not dive into shallow water or unknown water depths.
6. Take frequent breaks.
7. If you're planning fun in the sun on a boat make sure that all parties, especially children, are wearing their certified life vests. They may be bulky but the life it saves could be yours or your child's!
As for swimming pools, although the majority of the rules connect in one way or another, there are some differences.
1. First and foremost, for the safety of all involved, including the annoying neighbors down the block, surround your pool with proper barrier. The last thing you need is a child wandering into your yard, and then your pool. Perhaps consider installing an alarm that would let you know every time somebody enters the pool.
2. When a child is going to enter the pool, an adult should always be present, if not in the pool themselves.
3. Always keep the pool water clean. Using the proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration is imperative if you want things to be completely safe.
4. Mark off water depths and make them obvious.
5. Make rules for your pool, put them on a sign, and stick to them.
6. And finally, always keep rescue devices close, as well as a first-aid kit.
The summer months are here and we know you’re going somewhere to cool off if it’s not in your own backyard. But please, don’t take any chances. Physicians First Messages implores you to always exercise water safety regardless of where you are.
Better safe than sorry.
The dog days of summer are approaching quickly.
And let’s face it, the majority of us are enjoying the great outdoors, from
going to the beach, spending endless hours in the pool, hiking and/or
walking and barbecuing in the backyard.
Some of us, of course, work outside for a living while some not only
compete athletically outside, but also attend our children’s sporting
Bottom line is, summertime means a lot more time outdoors. And a lot more
time outdoors means a lot more exposure to the sun.
Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that if you’re not properly
protected from that big ball of fire in the sky, you may be jeopardizing
your health short term and, more importantly, long term.
Overexposure could lead to sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin
cancer, including melanoma.
So protecting yourself from the sun is imperative and although some people
think they might be doing a proper job, they very well could be
And that’s why we’d like to offer you some tips on appropriate ways to keep
For starters, it should be noted that the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
(daylight savings) are the most hazardous for UV (ultraviolet radiation, or
invisible rays from the sun) exposure in the continental U.S.
With that said, sunscreen is one of the best options to keep yourself
protected. Using sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or
higher is highly recommended for UVA and UVB protection. Obviously, the
higher, the better and make sure you use liberally.
Remember, sunscreen wears off and usually a lot sooner than people think.
If you’re in the sun for more than two hours, if you swim or you’re
sweating more than usual, you should reapply.
Always check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an
expiration date is not usable after three years and, if the can/bottle is
stored in higher temperatures, it may expire a lot sooner.
Also, remember, just because the sun slips behind clouds, doesn’t mean UV
rays aren’t present.
In addition, dark-colored clothing and a wide-brim hat may also help in
your quest to protect you from the sun. If you’re only wearing a baseball
cap, remember to protect your ears and the back of your neck.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection
against the sun. Did you know that properly protecting the sun from your
eyes reduces the risk of cataracts?
Finally, shade is another great option to help you, whether it’s under an
umbrella, tree or the like. But if you’re planning to protect yourself in
the shade long term, you should still have the proper sunscreen protection.
Physicians First Messages would love to see you enjoy the summer months,
but wants you to remain healthy. Please remember to protect yourself
properly when exposed to the sun, regardless if it’s short or long term.
Owner and operator
Spring is nearly here and you can bet your bottom dollar that, along with it, will be many individuals ready to take advantage of the warmer weather. For some, regular exercise such as walking will become a daily routine.
But for many others, the warmer weather means getting back into the swing of things involving sporting activities, including playing baseball, golf, tennis and the like.
Hey, it’s great to be active and enjoy the games you love. But Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that the more active you become, the more prone you become to sustaining injuries.
According to Dr. Matthew Hoffman of WebMD, the seven most common sports injuries include ankle sprains, groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, anterior cruciate ligament tears (knee), Patellofemoral syndrome (knee), and epicondylitis aka tennis elbow.
Surely, you’ve heard of most of these injuries. And Hoffman acknowledges that most of the time, preventing the aforementioned injuries are beyond our control.
However, there are things that can be done to prevent these common ailments, which could sideline an individual day-to-day or for months, depending on the severity of it.
According to Dr. William Roberts, a medicine physician at the University of Minnesota, some injuries are brought on themselves because an individual is not properly conditioned for the activity. He believes that working out daily is imperative in an attempt to cut down on injuries.
Dr. Margot Putukian, director of athletic medicine at Princeton University, says every workout should start with a gentle warm-up to increase blood flow to the muscles and help you become more flexible.
In addition, Dr. Putukian said it’s not wise to begin an activity you haven’t tried in a while and go full throttle for a long period of time. She said ‘pre-participation training’ is your best bet.
Dr. Roberts, meanwhile, said it’s also important to recognize when you’ve run out of gas. “Stop when you’re fatigued,’’ he said. “Muscle fatigue takes away all of your protective mechanisms and really increases your risk of all injuries.’’
So, go ahead, get ready for those spring activities you love so much. But ease yourself back into shape by properly warming up and knowing when it’s time to take a rest.
Physicians First Messages would love to see you remain on the field, pain free!
Owner and Operator
Come on! Admit it.
You’ve been thinking about taking a last-minute, random trip to that place you love.
Or perhaps you’re getting your long-range vacation plans in order for the summer.
Think about it … Walt Disney World, the Caribbean, California or maybe even Europe.
But maybe you’re holding back because of the ever-rising, cringe-making cost of airline tickets. Makes you want to say ‘ugh,’ right?
Well, Physicians First Messages is here to remind you that if you do your homework, you just might be able to save yourself some money when flying the friendly skies.
In case you didn’t know, there’s a plethora of factors that determine airline prices, including when your flight is and how many seats are remaining. It’s the reason why passengers on the same flight, and same class, pay different fees.
Here’s a couple of pointers:
First and foremost, timing is very important and you should always try to buy your tickets well in advance. At the very least, purchase them six weeks prior to the departure date. Not only will you get seats of your choice, but you’ll almost certainly get the cheapest rate. It’s true, you can wait to the last minute to get a cheap rate, but there’s a lot of risk involved in doing so.
Second, always check different airlines for different prices, or check flights to your destination for different dates. Also, check the rates as often as possible … the day after you first look, the following week, even a few months. Then you can see if your results for your specific date are a good price.
Next, once you think you’ve got a good deal, book it, for the price could go up in the next day … or even hour!
If you choose, by the way, to use a travel agent, he will not charge you a commission because the fee is already in the ticket price. The advantage of using an agent is he will know the ins and outs of getting a reasonably priced ticket, not to mention save you some time.
Finally, your flexibility can help you get the cheapest rate. Traveling during the week will almost always get you a cheaper ticket, as will being willing to endure a layover.
We all need to get away to the places we love. Physicians First Messages says ‘go for it,’ but encourages you to follow the aforementioned steps to help keep some spending money in your purse or wallet.
CEO & Founder @ Physicians First Messages, Inc.
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