Tips for finding the right doctor 

‘Looking for a kind, experienced doctor who likes strolls on the beach at sunset.” Oops, maybe that’s not exactly how it would go if you were using to find the doctor of your dreams. But aside from the beach strolls, the matchmaking model isn’t such a far-fetched idea.

Looking for a new doc is a lot like shopping for a partner, and almost as important to your well-being. You need someone who’s available and gets the whole you, not just a piece or two. Not easy.

If you’re looking — because you’ve moved, your insurance has changed or you simply need a better fit — try these steps.

1. Tap your social network. Yes, it’s obvious, but these sources are the most useful. Ask friends,
co-workers, neighbors, even your dentist if they like their doc and get excellent care — and why.

2. Ask about his/her past. You want someone who attended an accredited medical school, has been board-certified for at least three years and works with other well-trained docs.

3. Check availability. How many days a week is the office open? Will the doc discuss health problems by e-mail or phone? Is your insurance accepted? What hospital(s) does the doc use? Find out from the office manager (make friends with this VIP).

4. Match your family history. Finding a doc with a special interest in the diseases of your family’s past is ideal.

5. View your first visit as a test: Are you really listened to? Are your questions answered in terms you understand? Do you feel relaxed, not rushed?

If the answer is yes, you’ve found your match!


You’re nearly over the flu, but still feel down in the dumps. It’s not just because the laundry’s 2 feet high and you’re behind at work. Your immune system is still recovering from its no-holds-barred battle against the virus, which required unleashing chemicals called cytokines that have a good cop-bad cop effect: While fighting the flu, they also mopped up serotonin, the key “feel good” chemical in your brain. So there’s less of that happy stuff bouncing between your brain cells like a cheerful game of beach volleyball, and it takes time to replenish your serotonin supply. You can help. Here’s how to recover your good spirits faster:

Put yourself on light duty. Keep getting plenty of sleep. Postpone that shopping expedition, weekend trip or skating party till you feel chipper.

Boost your B-6. Aim for at least 3.7 mg a day of this vitamin. Because B-6 is involved in producing serotonin, you need it to replenish your supply. Find it in B-fortified cereals, fresh tuna, baked potatoes and bananas, though you’ll likely need a short-term supplement, too (think 1,000 mcg).

Munch on apples and broccoli. Both contain a flavonoid called quercetin that keeps immunity high even when you’re still feeling wiped out. Wash ‘em down with hot tea, which is packed with compounds that boost your body’s virus-fighting proteins.

Walk it off. A half-hour walk is a proven way to lift mild to moderate depression. Feeling too tired to do it all at once? Break it up into three 10-minute walks or two 15-minute outings.

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Speaking of San Francisco, finding The Right Doctor

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