How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical

How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires drivers of commercial vehicles to pass a DOT physical exam every two years. If you have potentially worrisome health issues – such as high blood pressure – you may be required to have an exam more frequently.

The DOT exam is comprehensive, designed to ensure that you are fit to safely drive a commercial vehicle. The exam includes an assessment of both your physical health and medical history. In addition, you will need to provide the physician with a list of current medication taken, which will be evaluated as well.

Only qualified medical professionals with specialized certification are licensed to perform DOT physicals. The physicians at Warner Plaza Urgent Care in Woodland Hills, California. have undergone the certification and routinely provide DOT exams for residents of the West San Fernando Valley.

The team at Warner Plaza Urgent Care has conducted countless DOT physicals and have put together the following tips to help ease your stress and prepare for the exam.

Know the facts

There are many rules and regulations used to evaluate your mental and physical ability to drive a commercial vehicle. Learning these in advance, can ease stress and ensure you properly prepare. Your employer can provide information regarding DOT health requirements. The information is also available online through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Have a pre DOT tune-up

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other medical conditions, schedule an appointment with your treating physician to make sure that these issues are well managed before submitting to your DOT exam.

Prepare and pack your paperwork

The DOT requires documentation that you’re under the care of a healthcare professional for any medical condition which could interfere with your ability to drive. If you have a history of heart attack or cardiac bypass surgery, for instance, you’ll need a letter from your cardiologist stating your condition does not prevent you from driving a commercial vehicle.

You can offset delays in completing the DOT exam by bringing this information with you at the time of your exam. And don’t forget to put together an accurate list of your current medications and health history for your DOT file.

Rest up and drink lots of fluids

The stress related to preparing for your DOT physical and worry over the results can work against you, especially when it comes to your blood pressure. Try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids for several weeks before your DOT physical. It’s a good idea to practice these healthy habits all the time, but they’re especially beneficial when you’re facing a DOT exam.

The physicians at Warner Plaza Urgent Care look forward to conducting your DOT exam. Call the office today to book your appointment, or use the online scheduling feature.

Thinking of Traveling Out of the Country Soon? Here Are a Few Things to Know About Travel Vaccines

Thinking of Traveling Out of the Country Soon? Here Are a Few Things to Know About Travel Vaccines

The benefits of travel vaccines

Our immune systems are pretty amazing, producing many of the antibodies our bodies need to battle a large number of common germs that otherwise could cause serious disease. But as good as our immune systems are, they can’t provide immunity against every disease we encounter. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies for diseases for which we have no or limited natural immunity.

During childhood, vaccines are common occurrences, giving us the “boost” our immune systems need to be strong and effective in fighting off a lot of “childhood diseases” that once were considered life-threatening. For some of those vaccines, we may need “booster” shots during adulthood as well. These vaccines address the infections and diseases we’re most likely to encounter here in the U.S. But when we travel, we can wind up encountering other types of germs for which our bodies have absolutely no natural immunity. Having travel vaccines prior to leaving the U.S. can help ensure you’re able to battle these “new” germs and avoid infection. What’s more, depending on where you’re traveling, the U.S. may require you to have certain vaccines to prevent you from bringing harmful infections back to the U.S.

Types of travel vaccines

At Warner Plaza Urgent Care, we offer several types of travel vaccines so you can get the correct immunizations you need to stay healthy. Some of the most common travel vaccines include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever

Your specific vaccine schedule will depend on your travel itinerary and other factors, like the potential health risks in the area you’re traveling to. For instance, if you’re traveling to an area where there’s a high risk of malaria, you’ll need to receive antimalarial vaccinations as well. If your travels take you to areas where rabies is prevalent, including some remote areas where you may come in close contact with bats, wild dogs, or other animals, we would recommend a rabies vaccine. Children have different risk profiles compared to adults, so travel vaccines for kids may include additional immunizations.

Scheduling a pre-travel office visit

To make sure you and your family members get the right vaccines, during your visit you should be ready to discuss:

  • Where you’re traveling
  • When you’re traveling
  • Your health history
  • Your vaccination history

In addition to getting vaccines specific to your travel, we can make sure your regular vaccinations are up to date as well.

When making travel plans, it’s a good idea to make an appointment as early as possible to find out if you need vaccines, and if you do, which ones are recommended or required. By scheduling an office visit when you begin making your travel plans, you avoid surprises and you can also make sure the vaccines you get are administered in the correct time frame. In most cases, you should have your vaccines about four to six weeks before traveling to give your body the time it needs to build up immunity. Plus, because some vaccines require more than one dose, starting early allows your doctor to space the vaccines appropriately.

Travel healthy with the right vaccines

At Warner Plaza Urgent Care, we want all our patients to get the most from their travel experiences. During your visit, our team will discuss your travel plans with you and make additional recommendations to keep you safe and healthy throughout your travels. To learn more about travel vaccines or to schedule a consultation, contact the practice today.

What Every Sexually-Active Adult Should Know About STD Testing

What Every Sexually-Active Adult Should Know About STD Testing

According to the most recent data from the CDC, doctors diagnosed nearly two million cases of chlamydia in the U.S., which means that over 500 out of every 100,000 people acquired the disease that year and infection rates rose almost 7% over the previous year.

In the same year, doctors reported over half a million cases of gonorrhea and 30,000 cases of syphilis. Another CDC report shows that a staggering 12% of 14- to 49-year-olds have Herpes II, which isn’t curable but is treatable. Around 42% of adults in the U.S. carry genital human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause anal, cervical, penile, and throat cancer. Yes, these diseases are common, and, untreated, they can be deadly. HIV isn’t the only STD you should be worried about.

Here’s what you need to know about STD testing.

1. Some people have no symptoms, but can still pass it on

Some people will have few or no symptoms of the disease, giving them a false sense of security that everything’s okay after making that mistake of having unprotected sex, but just because you have no symptoms doesn’t mean that the STD isn’t doing damage to your body. You can still pass it on to your partner without ever seeing a bump, blister, or any other sign of it. Mothers can pass these diseases to children and spouses can pass these to spouses even in a “monogamous” relationship without even knowing they have something.

2. Test results are 100% confidential

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a very strict federal law with steep $100K+ penalties for medical professionals who either knowingly, or unknowingly, share someone’s health information. Warner Plaza Urgent Care doesn’t need the law to know that they must take every precaution to protect your information. Rest assured that your results are between you, your doctor, and whoever else you choose to tell — and no one else.

3. Many STDs are treatable but wreak havoc if untreated

Many STDs can be cured with the right antibiotic, but you need STD testing so that your doctor at Warner Plaza Urgent Care can prescribe you an effective antibiotic. You should also follow up to ensure the infection is gone. Untreated, an STD can stay in your system for years, causing damage and passing to other people. For example, syphilis, which is treatable with a special antibiotic, goes through four stages:

  • Stage 1: In 3-6 weeks you’ll develop sores on your private parts and/or the mouth.
  • Stage 2: After 6-plus weeks, if untreated, syphilis causes whole-body skin rashes, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, and fatigue.
  • Stage 3: Called the latent period, the infection goes dormant, but it comes back with a vengeance.
  • Stage 4: The disease destroys the internal organs, blood vessels, and nervous system. It often results in death.

STD testing is the smart way to catch diseases like this early before they do irreparable damage to you or someone you love.

4. No one test can catch everything

STD testing must be comprehensive because no one test catches all diseases. Your doctor performs tests of the urine, blood, and tissue to screen you for the above-mentioned types and other diseases.

5. Testing isn’t just about you

It’s important to remember as a sexually-active adult that testing isn’t just about you. You don’t want to have knowledge that you passed on a harmful and preventable STD to another person, especially if that person is someone you love. STD testing not only allows you to get the treatment you need to prevent the later stages of some of these diseases; it gives you an opportunity to cure the disease or start disease-suppressant medication to reduce your risk of spreading it to others.

Have you been tested recently? Contact Warner Plaza Urgent Care to schedule an appointment.

How to Prepare for Your Immigration Physical

How to Prepare for Your Immigration Physical

The process of immigrating to the US is a long, exciting road. One of the steps is to be seen by an authorized doctor (known as a civil surgeon) and assessed for certain medical conditions. Commonly known as an “immigration physical”, there are specific ways this exam is different from a traditional physical. Fortunately, Dr. Hamid Mirshojae and Dr. Aram Mkhitarian at Warner Plaza Urgent Care are certified civil surgeons who can perform this exam and fill out the required paperwork. Before you make your appointment, here is what you should know.

1. Not every physician can do an immigration physical.

When you apply for a green card, you will need to have an exam done by a doctor who has gone through the approval process with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This means not every doctor is eligible to do an immigration physical. If you contact a doctor that is not an approved “civil surgeon,” your physical will not be accepted by USCIS.

2. You will need to bring specific paperwork with you.

Your ability to provide the following paperwork will make the examination process much easier. Please bring with you your:

  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
  • A government-issued photo identification (such as a driver’s license, state ID card, or valid passport). If you are making the appointment for someone younger than 14 years old, be sure to bring identification that shows their name, date, and place of birth and the parents’ full names. A birth certificate with an English translation if necessary will suffice.
  • Your vaccination or immunization records.
  • Your medical insurance card or a form of payment for your immigration physical.

3. An immigration physical is not a full examination.

During an immigration physical, you are tested for specific medical conditions but not for overall health. You will receive a blood test that will check for communicable diseases such as syphilis. You will also receive a tuberculosis test that is performed in two parts. During your initial visit, a small bubble of air is injected under the surface of your skin. Two to three days later, you will return to our office where you will have the test results read. Dr. Hamid Mirshojae and Dr. Aram Mkhitarian will also check your medical records to see if you need any additional vaccinations. Since many vaccines require multiple doses, be sure to have records of all of your immunizations with you.

4. USCIS will not accept your medical form if the envelope has been opened.

Once your immigration physical is complete, Dr. Hamid Mirshojae and Dr. Aram Mkhitarian will fill out Form I-693, and make a copy for you to keep for your records. They will then seal the original form in an envelope and stamp or sign the seal. Since USCIS will not accept the form if the envelope has been opened; it is important that you mail it in as it is.

If you or a loved one is applying for a green card or changing their citizenship status, call Warner Plaza Urgent Care today to schedule your immigration physical.

What is a Sports Physical and Who Needs One?

What is a Sports Physical and Who Needs One?

Playing sports on a school or community team offers an excellent way for kids and teens to learn about teamwork and stay in shape. Of course, no matter what sport your child plays, there’s always the risk of an injury. To prevent getting sick or hurt on the track, court, or field, kids need to be appropriately prepared, and part of preparing for sports is having a sports physical done to ensure they’re healthy for the season ahead and to ensure there are no medical problems that require more attention. Many states (and schools) require your child to have a sports physical before starting each season, but even if it’s not a requirement in your state, it’s still wise to have your child get one each year before they participate in sports.

What is a sports physical?

Often referred to as pre-participation physical examination, a sports physical is a specific type of check-up conducted to determine where your child is healthy enough to participate in their sport of choice. It differs from a routine physical in that it specifically looks for injuries and disease that could make it unsafe for your child to participate in a sport by reviewing not only the child’s medical history but also the family’s medical history.

What should you expect from a sports physical?

A sports physical includes two parts: a medical history and a physical exam.

The medical history will involve the physician asking questions, such as:

  • Do you have or have you had any illnesses, such as epilepsy, asthma, or diabetes?
  • Do any of your family members have serious medical problems?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Have you had any previous surgeries or hospitalizations?
  • Have you ever had chest pain, felt dizzy, had difficulty breathing, or passed out while exercising?
  • Do you take any medications? (this includes supplements and over-the-counter medications)

After the medical history, a physical exam will be done. The physical exam will generally include:

  • Blood pressure check and pulse rate
  • Measuring weight and height
  • Testing your child’s vision
  • An examination of neurological functions such as strength, coordination, and reflexes
  • Checking the lungs, heart, ears, nose, throat, and abdomen
  • Looking at spinal alignment, posture, mobility, and joint flexibility

Why are sports physicals so critical?

A sports physical is critical because it can uncover any health problems that may interfere with participation in sports. Your physician can help you deal with those problems to improve your ability to participate in the sport. For example, kids with asthma may be prescribed a different inhaler dosage or another type of inhaler to make breathing easier if your child will be doing a significant amount of running.

The physician doing the sports physical may also have some tips and ideas for training and preventing sports injuries. Doctors can also identify risk factors linked to individual sports, and this advice can make your child a stronger, better athlete.

Who needs a sports physical?

Kids and teens who are going to participate in school or community sports should have a sports physical, even if they aren’t required by your state. It’s usually a good idea to have the physical done about six weeks before kids begin participating in the sport. This gives you plenty of time in case any issues need to be addressed before your child can play.

Just like professional sports players require medical care so they can play their best, your child needs the supervision of a medical professional to ensure they can play their best game, too. At Warner Plaza Urgent Care, we provide sports physicals by appointment or for walk-ins, and we’ll work with you and your child to ensure they stay healthy and safe when they’re out playing they sport the love. Simply walk in today or call Warner Plaza to set up an appointment for your child’s sports physical.