PAP SMEAR: TEST LOOKS FOR PRESENCE OF PRECANCEROUS CELLS

A Pap smear is a procedure that screens for cervical cancer. Most women should start getting Pap smears at age 21 years and every three years after. It should be a part of your annual physical exam. The test looks for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus or womb. During the procedure, cells from the cervix are scraped away. It is not painful and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You may bleed a little after the test is completed.

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WHAT IS A MEDICARE WELLNESS EXAM?

A Medicare Wellness Exam is a preventative screening visit your provider wants you to have once a year. This visit is free and is separate from your annual physical exam (if your plan covers annual physicals). Traditional Medicare does not pay for a physical – it only covers a Wellness Exam.  What is a Wellness Exam? The visit is covered once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last visit). It is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health....

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ORAL HERPES

Oral herpes is an infection caused by a specific type of the herpes simplex virus. This condition, also called HSV-1 or sometimes cold sores or fever blisters, creates painful sores on your lips, gums and tongue, as well as the roof of your mouth and sometimes the inside of your cheeks. It may even affect your nose and chin. Symptoms of oral herpes include swelling in the lymph nodes, fever, tiredness and aching muscles. While the initial infection with oral herpes occurs most often in children ages 1-2 years, ….

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COPING WITH A COLD AND THE FLU

Catching a cold or getting the flu seems to be an inevitability during the winter months. How can you deal with a cold or the flu – or perhaps even shorten the duration of the illness – so you can get back to your regular, healthy lifestyle?


First, it’s important to differentiate between cold and flu symptoms. A cold is a mild respiratory illness. The flu can make you feel very ill for a few days or even weeks. It can also cause severe health complications such as pneumonia.


Cold symptoms include a cough that produces phlegm, runny and/or stuffy nose, sneezing and a sore throat. Several hundred different viruses may cause these symptoms, which last for about a week.


The flu produces a fever between 100 degrees F and 102 degrees F that can last three or four days. (A common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit.) You may also experience chills, body aches and a phlegmless (dry) cough.


To prevent succumbing to either of these illnesses, the age-old advice still holds true:  


Get a Flu Shot.

Well before the flu season swings into high gear, get a flu shot.

It will take a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop in your body to provide protection against the flu.


Wash Your Hands.

Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes or mouth. When you touch any of these areas, you may be spreading the virus, so keep your hands germ free by washing them often with hot soapy water or using hand sanitizer.


Drink Plenty of Fluids.

You need to stay hydrated when you’re battling a cold or the flu. Hot liquids will relieve nasal congestion and soothe inflamed membranes. Chicken noodle soup, orange juice and warm lemon water with honey are good beverage choices. Alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas only make dehydration worse.


Get Lots of Rest.

Your body needs time to set its defenses and recover when a cold or the flu hits. Don’t try to “tough it out” by forcing yourself to go to work. You could very well pass your illness on to others.



The Mayo Clinic says there is no cure for the common cold. However, some remedies might help ease your symptoms, such as saline nasal drops and sprays; acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin; and over-the-counter cold and cough medications. Be sure to take these as directed. And remem- ber, antibiotics only attack bacteria, so they are not effective against cold viruses.


Some other tried-and-true cold-and-flu coping strategies include gargling to soothe a sore throat (dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water); taking a hot shower to moisten your nasal passages; and using a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer to help you breathe better.


If you develop severe symptoms – such as painful swallowing, chest pain, a persistent cough or pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge – or if you aren’t feeling better after a week, consult your doctor at once. Your doctor may order a test to confirm if you have influenza and if you do, he or she may prescribe an anti-viral medication to shorten the duration of the symptoms.

DR. DIANA C. HAYSLIP

Dr. Hayslip is a native of Ohio. She joined Family Practice Associates of Lexington in 2007. Dr. Hayslip’s goal as your family physician is to “help you feel better and stay healthy.”

more articles by Dr. Diana C. Hayslip