Before vaccines were invented, thousands of children were dying or were handicapped every year from diseases such as poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis, among many others. Certain diseases, such as malaria and HIV, are still causing numerous deaths among children and individuals with a weakened immune response, such as the elderly and patients with chronic medical disorders. Vaccines have been elaborated for the most common infectious diseases, both bacterial and viral. There is some progress in the development of the malaria vaccine, and recent clinical trials revealed that an effective vaccine formula will be found in the near future. Research is also in progress for an effective HIV vaccine, although medical researchers have been less successful in this field compared to the malaria vaccine development. The vaccinations are included in the US schedule, which includes specific vaccines that need to be administered and the age of their administration to children or certain high-risk individuals. Many vaccines are mandatory, and they are administered to everyone. Our pediatricians and primary care physicians working at Front Range Primary Care are always available to administer vaccines to children and adults according to the recommended vaccination schedule. Moreover, our physicians monitor patients after the vaccine has been administered to ensure that they don’t exhibit adverse effects that may need medical attention, although vaccines are very safe and bothersome phenomena are rarely encountered.
Vaccines Contain “Disabled” Viruses or Bacteria
There are several vaccines that are regularly administered to everyone in the United States, such as the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), poliomyelitis vaccine, and several others. Most of them are administered anywhere from one to three times during an individual’s lifetime, except the flu shot, which is given on an yearly basis to ensure its effectiveness against the highly-variable influenza virus. Your physician at the Front Range Primary Care will take care of the vaccination schedule, and remind you about the necessity to vaccinate your children, so you don’t need to worry about remembering the diseases and the recommended vaccination age. Vaccines are basically bacteria or viruses that have been disabled or inactivated in labs, although their retain the structural characteristics of an active disease-causing agent. Vaccines facilitate the elaboration of a specific immune response when white blood cells scan and analyze the inactivated bacteria or virus, without the body becoming affected by an infection.
Flu shots are widely considered the most simple and cost-effective protection against the influenza virus. Avoiding the virus by isolating yourself from individuals who have the flu is rarely possible and realistic because, during the typical flu season, the virus can be found virtually anywhere, and the contamination path is through airborne particles called aerosols. The is no reason to be anxious, though, because our experienced physicians at Front Range Primary Care, serving the community of Denver, can administer a flu shot to ensure that you emerge on the winning side during seasonal encounters with the influenza virus. A flu shot, also known as the influenza vaccine, has very few and rare side effects, most of which are mild and temporary, such as a sore throat or nasal congestion that typically diminish and disappear in a matter of days. The influenza vaccine is able to prevent the flu by training the white blood cells to recognize the virus and neutralize it through the production of antibodies or specialized “killer” immune cells.
Influenza Vaccines are Modified on a Seasonal Basis
The problem with the “tricky” influenza virus is that it has many strains or subspecies, which means that the proteins that cover the virus may be different. These proteins are markers for various strains of influenza viruses and they are represented by the letters H and N. Examples of influenza virus subspecies may be H1N1, H3N2 and so on, with multiple possible combinations. A seasonal flu shot is elaborated by medical experts to include the inactivated virus subtypes that are predicted to be dominant in a particular year, which means that a flu shot that was relevant three years ago may not offer optimal protection in the current year. The job of medical and pharmaceutical experts is to collect data about mutations and variations of the influenza virus and elaborate a vaccine that would protect individuals from specific virus strains that are found in the environment in a given season. Because a flu shot is not expensive and is not associated with any discomfort, there is no reason to ignore this cost-effective protection offered by our medical team at the Front Range Primary Care medical facilities.
Flu Shots Contain Inactivated Influenza Virus Subspecies
Medical researchers have worked hard to make flu shots as safe as possible, which is why they contain a combination of inactivated influenza subspecies. The mechanism of action of the influenza vaccine consists in the presentation of the inactive virus to the immune system, which analyzes the “intruder” and elaborates a specific immune response that can be activated during the next encounter with the virus. The inactivated status of the influenza virus in the flu shot makes it impossible to develop a typical flu, but minor, transient symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sore throat, may be possible. These are minor side effects that are exhibited by a minority of individuals who receive the flu shot, and they are a sign of adaptation to the administered vaccine. Don’t hesitate to contact our experienced medical teams and find out more useful information about flu prevention and various available vaccinations.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, is implemented to produce several radical changes in the way the American healthcare system is operating, including reducing costs, increasing the quality of medical care and providing affordable health insurance for Americans. Primary care providers and emergency care facilities, including the Front Range Primary Care medical clinic located Denver, CO, will be influenced in several ways, most of which are beneficial to their operation. The need for new regulations in the healthcare system derived from several problems that have become deeper and more severe every year. Before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of uninsured Americans was progressively increasing towards reaching the number of 50 million individuals in 2010, which is about one in every six Americans. The insurance companies were able to deny insurance coverage to individuals who had pre-existing health problems or to increase the insurance premiums based on undisclosed parameters, which deprives the patients who really need medical attention of adequate care. The income difference between medical specialists and primary care physicians was huge, and most of the insurance money were going to large hospitals and specialists, while the PCP's were left with a small piece of the “healthcare funds” pie.
Obama Care Means More Patients for Primary Care Providers
ACA includes strict regulations regarding the ability of insurance companies to increase insurance premiums. Under the new regulations, insurance companies are no longer able to increase premiums based on their evaluation of the individual’s pre-existing health conditions, health risks, the individual’s occupation and other parameters that would allow insurance providers to make money rather than provide cost-effective health insurance coverage. ACA stipulates that the only parameters that allow insurance companies to modify the insurance price are age, income, tobacco consumption, family size and geographical location. Wealthy Americans whose income is above 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are expected to pay more for their insurance, while individuals who earn less than 400 percent FPL will pay less and qualify for subsidies. These changes will affect primary care providers like the Front Range Primary Care medical clinic through an increased number of patients who can now afford medical insurance and will definitely be encouraged to seek medical attention for their health problems. Are PCP's ready for the surge of new patients? Our physicians believe they are. This wave of new patients will also be associated with attractive incentives for PCP's based on the quality of the provided medical care, which will reduce the income difference between them and the other medical specialists.
The Affordable Care Act also includes regulations regarding the efficiency of healthcare costs, which should provide a natural selection favoring the medical facilities that provide high-quality medical care at a lower cost and inhibit the facilities that have trouble managing their costs while failing to increase the quality of their services. The physicians and nurses working at the Front Range Primary Care clinics believe that ACA is associated with positive changes for medical professionals who continuously improve the quality of their services, which should inevitably translate into more patients and higher financial rewards for experienced, hard-working doctors.
The employees who suffer from medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity or tobacco-related diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may represent a financial “burden” for their employers. Besides the physical and mental suffering that they experience, they can also “harm” their companies by generating additional costs through higher insurance premiums paid by the employer, poor work productivity and missed work days. The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, was designed to address this negative health trend, among many other health care deficiencies. At Front Range Primary Care, our experienced doctors see regularly employees who complain about poor work productivity and negative habits that disrupt their workflow, such as smoking or binge eating. Their employers are also not happy because the insurance companies raise the premiums for smokers and individuals affected by various diseases, and the quality of work also suffers due to a lack of concentration and missed work days. Fortunately, the Employer Wellness Programs that are stimulated through grants from the government have the potential to address the situation and benefit everyone, if their implementation is rigorous and consistent.
Employer Wellness Programs Encourage Employees to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
An employer wellness program provides tangible benefits to both employees and the companies they work for. It may consist in the elaboration of strategies that allow employees to make healthier choices and abandon their bad habits. A company may stimulate its employees to improve their health by organizing gyms at work or paying for gym memberships at fitness centers, offering gift cards and discounts at grocery stores and restaurants for organic food, offering healthier foods at work, such as organic tea, healthier sandwiches, salads or fruits, and organizing seminars and short-courses that present easy-to-digest information about a healthy lifestyle. The components included in an employer wellness program may vary, and they may reflect the preferences of a particular company and its administration, but certain guidelines may need to be followed if a company is to become eligible for grants from the government. If a company succeeds at implementing an employer wellness program, then the insurance company may revise the insurance premiums for its employees due to observed positive health changes. Aggressive wellness programs that “punish” employees are unlikely to succeed. Instead, companies are advised to implement an employee reward system that consists in giving points for successful lifestyle and health changes, which can be converted into cash, gift cards or other incentives.
Grants from the Government may be Available to Eligible Businesses
The government is determined to encourage businesses to implement programs that will improve the health of their employees. Because the initial investments for implementing such a program may be a substantial financial burden for some companies, especially small businesses, the government may offer grants to facilitate the application of these programs as soon as possible. The companies must demonstrate the initiative to organize a solid and functional employer wellness program in order to become eligible for grants from the government. Common diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease, are highly preventable through a healthier lifestyle, which is why wellness programs may dramatically reduce healthcare costs and improve work productivity by targeting these avoidable medical problems in employees.