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Healthwatch 16: Family physicians

Experts say that now is the right time to make an appointment with your primary care doctor.

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. — Geisinger officials say it's so important that if you don't have a family physician, now is the time to get one.

We have been hearing for months that this fall and winter could be a difficult one when it comes to public health.

COVID-19 cases are expected to rise at a time when the flu becomes widespread as well. And that's not even counting the common cold, allergies, and other illnesses you could be dealing with.

We spoke with Dr. Eddie Rodriguez-Lopez, a Geisinger family physician who works in the Lock Haven office. He recommends making an appointment to be checked out now, and if you don't have a primary care doctor, now is good time to find one before the season sets in.

"Right before the fall months, there are threats of the common cold, influenza, and also COVID-19 still looming. This is a great time to make sure you're in your best health possible," Dr. Rodriguez-Lopez said.

"We like to specialize in you as a patient. We like to get to know you, we like to listen to your concerns, and we're here to serve you. Primary care doctors are considered the main doctors, generalists if you will, but we can help you manage current conditions if you have one, or try to identify conditions you may be at a high risk for, and take steps to prevent that. We just want to keep you healthy! That's our duty," Dr. Rodriguez-Lopez added

Dr. Rodriguez-Lopez points out that many of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 may also be seen in influenza or the common cold, and the best way to sort through what you may be experiencing is with a medical professional who knows you and your medical history — just a reminder from Geisinger as we get into what could be a tricky few months in health care. And of course, his number one recommendation, no matter where it comes from, is to get that flu shot.